INDOOR ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
What workers can do
When workers suspect their health problems are caused by construction and renovation exposures in their work areas, workers should:
- Report concerns immediately to supervisors or those persons responsible for building maintenance.
- See your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
What management and building owners can do
When workers suspect their health problems are caused by exposures from construction in their work environment, owners and managers should:
- Always respond when occupant health concerns are reported.
- Establish clear procedures for recording and responding to IEQ complaints to ensure an adequate and timely response.
- Log all complaints or problem reports.
- Collect information about each complaint.
- Ensure confidentiality.
- Determine a plan for response.
- Identify appropriate resources for response.
- Apply remedial action.
- Provide feedback to building occupants regarding the complaint and response actions.
- Follow-up to ensure that remedial action has been effective.
Before and during construction or renovation, management and building owners should do the following:
- Identify all key personnel including representatives from the building and the general contractor who are responsible for addressing construction or renovation-related activities and airborne contaminant control. Other personnel such as building staff, engineers, and subcontractors, should be involved as necessary.
- Assure that construction/renovation workers are equipped with any necessary personal protection equipment such as N95 respirators(http://wwwdev.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/respusers.html) , gloves, eye wear, head gear, and steel-toed boots.
- Develop a plan describing anticipated work activities and their location, associated source contaminants, and areas potentially affected.
- Schedule construction or renovation work during periods of low building occupancy or when occupants are not in the building.
- Isolate construction work areas from occupied areas using appropriate containment barriers.
- Negatively pressurize construction work areas and/or positively pressurize occupied areas to prevent migration of air contaminants from work areas to occupied areas.
- Dusts, fibers and contaminants can be released and carried to other areas in a building by heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems during construction and renovation activities if not properly contained. Consult HVAC professionals and engineers on how to modify HVAC operations to ensure isolation of construction work areas from occupied areas.
- Avoid storing construction materials and equipment in HVAC mechanical rooms.
- Maintain an adequate unoccupied buffer zone around the work areas to allow for construction or renovation traffic. If work is being done when occupants are still in the building, a buffer zone could require temporarily relocating occupants in the immediate vicinity of the work areas.
- Page last reviewed: August 27, 2015
- Page last updated: August 27, 2015
- Content source:
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Respiratory Health Division