LEVs and Confined Space Safety a Big Topic at AIHce 2015 Day 1

The morning session featured a number of speakers discussing their work regarding local exhaust ventilation and confined space painting/safety.

SALT LAKE CITY -- The opening morning of AIHce 2015 saw a number of sessions take place, including a session on advances in construction and confined space safety. Two of the biggest topics coming out of the session were LEV (local exhaust ventilation) use and confined space safety.

John Meeker, a graduate professor from the University of Michigan, looked at the effectiveness of a number of LEV units, comparing their effectiveness in a couple of different scenarios. Out of 10 units selected, three were picked to compare. The methods of comparison included sample collection and measuring the air quality during and after welding use.

The results of the study highlighted the importance of how a specific LEV is used as well as the setting in which it is used. For example, some of the most effective units are also the heaviest, so getting them up and down a staircase could present challenges.

Pam Susie of CPWR, the Center for Construction Research and Training, also looked at the use of LEVs to alleviate problems presented by Silica use in public places. She emphasized the importance of cities taking the initiative to introduce LEV use instead of waiting for any sort of national rule changes.

Confined space safety was discussed by the final two speakers. Peter Bergholz, an OSHA project manager in Canada, took 18 months to study residential confined spaces in British Columba. His journey took him to some surprising locations (including a cave) but typically involved crawl spaces and garbage chutes.

Finally, Daniel O. Chute of Atrium Environmental Health and Safety Services took a look at painting in confined spaces; a situation that can present a number of problems. In order to illustrate these problems, Chute traveled across the country to evaluate shipboard painting procedures. His work found that most of the challenges associated with doing so involved irregular space configuration as well as limited access and egress. His study aimed to characterize hazards as well as present and produce quality metrics for others.

Surprisingly, he found that it is much harder to ventilate large paint areas as it is harder to control. Going into his study, he expected small spaces to be more challenging due to the sheer amount of paint being used.

A large turnout at the session illustrates the importance of the information shared, and attendees at AIHce continue to educate themselves in these areas.

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