January 23, 2020

NIOSH Highlights Importance of Maintaining Acceptable IEQ during Construction

A “Workplace Solutions” document published last week by NIOSH provides recommendations to help employers maintain acceptable indoor environmental quality during construction and renovation projects. The recommendations address issues frequently encountered by agency staff during IEQ investigations, including lack of dust control, the use of high-emission building materials, and limited communication with occupants about hazards related to the work being done. According to NIOSH, foresight and planning are necessary to reduce IEQ-related symptoms during activities related to building construction. The agency urges employers to ensure that construction contractors understand the potential impact of construction and renovation activities on building occupants. NIOSH stresses the importance of anticipating construction- and renovation-related activities that may generate contaminants such as airborne dusts, gases, organic vapors, and microbiological contaminants. The new document also discusses how management should implement controls to minimize exposures of workers and building occupants.

The publication covers additional information related to site- and activity-specific plans to identify and control contaminants; contract bid specifications that include details about appropriate control measures; and considerations for the control of both indoor- and outdoor-generated contaminants. Readers will also find information on practices to minimize contaminant release and how to protect HVAC systems serving construction or renovation areas from damage or contamination.

The new document is published on NIOSH’s website. Additional NIOSH Workplace Solutions documents are also available.