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New airborne contaminant recommendations released for workers

| Jan 29, 2020 | Workers' Compensation |

Construction workers in New Jersey may be interested in the new recommendations set forth by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, or NIOSH. The recommendations are designed to reduce exposure to dust, gases and other contaminants that may affect construction workers and building occupants.

The recommendations were set forth after NIOSH conducted health hazard evaluations at worksites that were completing construction and renovation projects. The projects inspected included an office building undergoing modernization and a school that was being renovated to include more classrooms, administrative space and a library. Several issues were identified that affected the quality of the indoor air. Lack of dust control, use of high-emissions building materials and lack of communication with building occupants about potential hazards topped the list of concerns.

Renovation, demolition, construction and repair projects often cause the release of harmful pollutants in the air. The airborne contaminants pose a risk to construction workers, those who occupy surrounding areas and those living and working in the building. Congestion, nausea, headaches, fatigue, dizziness and sinus problems often result from contaminant exposure. More serious conditions, such as cancer, may develop from asbestos exposure. Indoor environmental quality should be strictly maintained by taking measures and communicating with building occupants, building managers and engineers.

Those who work in the construction field face serious dangers on the job that may include the risk of falls, machinery injuries and airborne contaminants. Employers have the responsibility to ensure that their employees have a safe workplace by taking precautions, providing safety training and taking steps to eliminate chemical exposure. In this case, if safety equipment, such as gas masks, wasn’t provided to workers, the workers may breathe in pollutants that could cause medical problems. A workers’ compensation claim may be filed to help the employee receive medical assistance and money for lost wages during recovery.

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