Construction workers in Ohio may face a number of hazards on the job, from unsafe working conditions to unstable equipment to poor air quality. During a construction project, workers can be exposed to toxic chemicals, silica dust, gases and other contaminants. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has created recommendations for acceptable indoor environmental quality during a building or renovation process. There are several factors that could contribute to dangerously poor air quality on a construction job, including a lack of action to control dust or the use of building materials that emit a significant amount of gases or contaminants.
Workers should have access to proper personal protective equipment in order to avoid dangerous levels of toxic exposure on the job. Renovation and building projects can expose workers to vapors, biological contaminants and other dusts, especially if they frequently inhale these substances. Workers who are affected by occupational contaminants may immediately experience eye irritation, congestion, headaches, nausea, dizziness and fatigue. Exposure to some of these substances can lead to long-term risks of occupational disease as well, such as silicosis from frequent exposure to silica dust from sanding and grinding. Other workers may develop asthma, especially if they work in environments contaminated with mold.
There are other dangerous contaminants that can be found at some construction and renovation sites. For example, asbestos may still be found in some older buildings. Employees who will be working in areas contaminated by asbestos must be properly protected as provided for in OSHA regulations. Asbestos exposure can lead to occupational disease, including mesothelioma, a rare cancer.
Construction workers who are injured on the job or affected by toxic contaminants may face ongoing medical expenses and time away from the job. A workers’ compensation attorney may help injured workers to protect their rights and seek the benefits they deserve.