Better Respiratory Protection Needed for Road and Bridge Workers

A poster at the AIHce EXP conference summarized findings from NIOSH assessments at construction sites in 10 states during 2007-2012.

PHILADELPHIA – Workers engaged in constructing or repairing roads and bridges are often not being adequately protected against respiratory hazards, including silica and lead, according to a poster presentation at the AIHce EXP 2018 conference here. The poster summarized findings from NIOSH assessments at 13 companies’ construction sites in 10 states during 2007-2012.

Six of the companies with sites where air monitoring was conducted had exposures exceeding NIOSH recommended exposure limits. The site visits determined that the companies’ air monitoring was not always adequate for the specific exposures and proper respiratory protection was not always selected.

Improvements suggested by the authors include fit testing tight-fitting respirators, training the workers, ensuring workers are clean shaven for a proper respirator fit, ensuring a respiratory protection program administrator is trained and available at the job site, ensuring respirators are properly cleaned and stored, conducting air monitoring more frequently because of changes in construction work, and providing respiratory protection when engineering controls are not adequate.

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