Roadway Safety: Health Hazards
Laborers' Health and Safety Fund of North America
|This document is one in a program produced under an OSHA grant by a consortium of the Laborers' Health and Safety Fund N.A, the International Union of Operating Engineers, the American Road and Transportation Builders Assn, and the National Asphalt Pavement Assn. All of the documents from this set that are on eLCOSH can be found by clicking on Job Site, Heavy construction, and scrolling to the Street & highway heading. Or to download a complete version of the computerized program, go to http://wzsafety.tamu.edu.
Toxic substances can enter the body by 3 routes.
The effects of toxic substances may be
- Short-term or acute: effects such as eye irritation or dizziness
- Delayed or chronic: effects such as cancer or chronic lung disease
Silica is common but can be very harmful.
To prevent silica exposure
- Found in many construction dusts such as concrete, rock
- High exposure tasks include sand blasting, rock drilling, cutting concrete
- Long-term exposure leads to lung disease (silicosis)
- Long-term exposure increases risk of cancer
- Reduce airborne dust through ventilation and wetting
Use NIOSH-approved toxic
Asphalt fumes and skin contact can be harmful.
Fumes may cause eye, respiratory irritation
- Hot asphalt can severely burn skin
To prevent exposure
- Work upwind whenever possible
- Maintain a lower temperature to minimize fumes
Use ventilation on paving machines
Wear gloves, long sleeves to prevent skin contact
It can cause dermatitis and skin burns.
Dermatitis can be
Prevent dermatitis and burns
- Irritation from caustic chemicals in concrete
- Allergic reaction
- Wear long-sleeved gloves
- Keep concrete out of your boots
Change gloves/boots when contaminated inside
Wash hands in clean water with pH-neutral soap
Protect cuts with bandages
Wear eye protection
Lead damages nervous and reproductive systems.
To prevent lead poisoning
- Toxic metal found in paints on bridge renovation
- Dust and fume can be inhaled or ingested during sandblasting, welding, cutting
Dust can be carried home and poison your family
- Remove paint before cutting or welding
- Use long-handled torches for cutting
- Use local exhaust ventilation
- Wear the proper respirator
- Wash face and hands before eating, smoking, or drinking
- Shower and change clothes before leaving work
- Get your blood lead tested periodically to assure you are not overexposed
Most can be avoided with basic protections.
Other hazards include
Avoiding health hazards means
- Common substances such as solvents and CO
- Special products such as sealants, paints
- Reviewing the product Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)
- Limiting exposure as much as possible
Staying upwind of hazardous exposures
Making sure that hazard controls such as fans are working
Wearing protective equipment such as respirators, skin coverings
Promptly reporting any health complaints to your supervisor
This paper appears in the eLCOSH website with the permission of the author and/or copyright holder and may not be reproduced without their consent. eLCOSH is an information clearinghouse. eLCOSH and its sponsors are not responsible for the accuracy of information provided on this web site, nor for its use or misuse.
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