Common Hazards in the Construction Industry (Part 1)
There are a variety of hazards that can lead to serious injury, illness and fatality in the construction industry. As an employer, it is important to understand these hazards and make sure the necessary steps are in place to prevent OSHA violations for exposure of such hazards to your employees. If you have been issued an OSHA violation, we strongly recommend seeking the legal guidance of an Tampa, FL contractor attorney who is experienced with defending allegations of hazards in the construction industry.
Outlined below, are four of the common hazards in the construction industry that contractors and other construction professionals should be mindful of.
1-bromopropane (1-BP), also known as n-propyl bromide is a chemical that is often used in degreasing, dry cleaning, spray adhesives, and aerosol solvents. 1-BP exposure has been linked to irritation of the eyes, mucous membranes, upper airways and skin and damage of the nervous system, and has also shown evidence of causing reproductive harm in animal studies.
While OSHA has not yet announced a specific standard for 1-BP exposure, employers are required by law to provide proper protection to their workers when working with this hazard.
Crystalline Silica Exposure
Quartz, cristobalite and tridymite are three forms of crystalline silica that may become respirable size particles when workers chip, cut, drill, or grind objects that contain the substance, such as soil, sand, granite, and many other minerals.
Exposure to crystalline silica is a serious threat to workers in high risk jobs such as abrasive blasting, foundry work, stonecutting, rock drilling, quarry work and tunneling. Crystalline silica exposure can lead to fatality and disabling illnesses. Classified as a human lung carcinogen, breathing crystalline silica dust is also linked to silicosis, which is a cure-less condition that causes the formation of scar tissue in the lungs, and essentially, reduces the lungs’ ability to take in oxygen.
OSHA’s Permissible Exposure Limit, or PEL, for workers per 8-hour work shift can be found under the Toxic and Hazardous Substances section of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards. All employees who have the potential to be exposed to this substance are required to be trained in hazard communication and employers must also provide a respirator protection program.
Isocyanates are chemicals that are found in commonly used materials such as paints, varnishes, and building insulation. Exposure to these chemicals often lead to occupational asthma; irritation of the skin, eyes, nose and throat; cancer, and in some cases death. Direct skin contact can cause marked inflammation and may also lead to respiratory illnesses.
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Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.