IF SAWS, HAMMERS, BLADES, falling objects, projectiles, and worksite obstacles weren’t enough hazards for the typical construction worker, certain chemicals, gases, airborne particles, and even things that grow and creep also can pose dangers when adequate personal protection isn’t used and other precautions aren’t taken.
In addition to the lacerations, punctures, blows to the head and body, and broken bones a construction worker can suffer, consider these other industry-related health hazards:
- Chemical — Gases , vapors , fumes , dusts , fibers , and mists
- Physical — Temperature , noise , repetitive motion, awkward postures , and ionizing and non- ionizing radiation
- Biological — Fungi (mold) , bloodborne pathogens , bacteria , poisonous plants , and poisonous and infectious animals
As we reported in a recent three-part series of blogging articles (beginning here), the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) (www.osha.gov) has put a special focus on the dangers of beryllium. A byproduct of manufacturing, welding, and abrasive (sand) blasting, beryllium is an element that can cause severe damage to the lungs and even death.
Enforcement of OSHA’s final rule on occupational exposure to beryllium in general, construction, and shipyard industries began on May 11, 2018. The final rule — a series of mandates, actually — is in place now to reduce worker exposure to beryllium, which OSHA writes about as follows:
“Workers in industries where beryllium is present may be exposed to beryllium by inhaling or contacting beryllium in the air or on surfaces. Inhaling or contacting beryllium can cause an immune response that results in an individual becoming sensitized to beryllium. Individuals with beryllium sensitization are at risk for developing a debilitating disease of the lungs called chronic beryllium disease (CBD) if they inhale airborne beryllium after becoming sensitized. Beryllium-exposed workers may also develop other adverse health effects such as acute beryllium disease, and lung cancer.
“Berylliosis, or chronic beryllium disease (CBD), is a chronic allergic-type lung response and chronic lung disease caused by exposure to beryllium and its compounds, a form of beryllium poisoning.”
OSHA puts on employers the responsibility of protecting the health and safety of their workers — no matter what the industry. Workers have responsibilities, too — to themselves and to their families. As stated in a Health Hazards in Construction workbook found on the OSHA website: “A worker’s exposure to hazardous materials on the job can be unknowingly brought back to a person’s home; heavy metals such as lead dust, concrete-crusted clothing and variety of oils, greases and solvents can all be unintentionally poisoning your family! As a worker who might be exposed to these hazards, you have a responsibility to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), practice good hygiene, and take advantage of training programs” — programs like those offered by Safety Solutions & Supply.
With the high potential of exposure to chemical and physical hazards, worker protection should be a priority for any successful organization. Safety Solutions & Supply supports clients with a variety of industrial hygiene sampling services, including air contaminant sampling, noise surveillance, exposure studies, and breathing air quality certification.
Our analytical partners have the highest levels of accreditation to ensure prompt and accurate results. All sampling events include a complete report, employee notifications, and postings to achieve full compliance with all regulatory requirements.
Safety Solutions & Supply also supports clients with several occupational health programs, including industrial hygiene and medical services.
We offer complete and custom on-site solutions for any medical surveillance needs a company or organization might have. Our qualified staff provides Department of Transportation driver physicals, audiometric testing, respiratory exams, drug testing, and other necessary medical support activities.
For more information about Safety Solutions & Supply’s industrial hygiene and occupational health services, including programs to meet OSHA’s new beryllium-exposure standards, give us a call at 1-866-537-2262. Our website home is solutionsinsafety.com.