Exposure to and management of quartz in construction
With the amendment of the EU Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive, the binding limit value for quartz has been set as of 1 January 2020. People who are at least moderately exposed to quartz in their work must be recorded in the ASA register. Employees in the construction sector are the most exposed to quartz in Finland.
In construction, relatively few exposure measurements have been made and there is little information on exposure in different tasks. In order to prevent diseases, better practices are needed to control exposure to quartz in construction.
The aim of the research project is to
- examine the exposure levels in different tasks and how control measures affect them
- identify the tasks that require protection against high concentrations of quartz in room air or in circumstances where work is carried out close to the source of emission
- describe task-specific dust control measures to reduce exposure and prevent the spread of dust
- identify which employees must be recorded in the ASA register and from which tasks it is necessary to obtain practical company or workplace-specific measurement data in order to determine exposure levels
- describe the types of tasks that require medical examinations in occupational health care
- describe what kind of guidance occupational health care services and workplaces need to control and monitor the exposure to quartz
- provide guidelines for the classification of quartz exposure at construction sites related to risk assessments
- modify the dust control protocol and report under the EU’s quartz agreement to make it suitable for construction sites.
Materials and techniques
The project will use the good dust control practices developed in previous studies and the methods described in the context of the EU's quartz agreement in a before/after test setting to establish their effectiveness.
Results and effectiveness
The results of the project can be applied in quartz exposure management and risk control. Furthermore, instructions and information on ASA notification practices and medical examinations are produced for employers and occupational health care providers.
The implementers of the project are the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and the project partners Lotus Demolition Oy and Tapaturva Oy.
The participating organizations of the project are CONSTI, Destia, Hartela Companies and NCC Finland.
The Finnish Work Environment Fund, The Finnish Construction Trade Union and The Confederation of Finnish Construction Industries RT