While milling asphalt pavement allows for materials to be recycled as roads are surfaced, cold-milling machines can generate airborne crystalline silica dust, putting road crews at risk of respiratory illness, according to Pete Stafford, Executive Director of the Center for Construction Research & Training (CPWR).
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has teamed up with an array of industry stakeholders -- heavy/highway construction contractors, labor organizations, equipment manufacturers, and government officials -- to identify solutions. The work of the Silica/Asphalt Milling Machine Partnership informs a new NIOSH document, Best Practice Engineering Control Guidelines to Control Worker Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica during Asphalt Pavement Milling.
"Inhalation of respirable crystalline silica can cause silicosis, a debilitating and potentially fatal lung disease, and other possible adverse health outcomes," said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. "This collaborative effort by labor, industry and government reflects the current knowledge of best practices and a partnership that has succeeded in developing recommended engineering controls for these worksites."
Dr. Christine Branche, Director of NIOSH's Office of Construction Safety and Health, will be presenting highlights from the document tomorrow in Baltimore, at the 2015 World of Asphalt Show & Conference.
To support the effort, CPWR has teamed up with NIOSH and the Partnership to produce a brief Field Guide for Controlling Silica Dust Exposure on Asphalt Pavement Milling Machines. Click here to download a copy from the CPWR website.