OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
OSHA National News Release
U.S. Department of Labor
News Release USDL: 97-08
Thursday, Jan. 9, 1997
Contact: Susan Hall Fleming, (202) 219-8151
OSHA Endorses Agreement To Reduce Asphalt Fumes
"This agreement demonstrates that stakeholders can voluntarily find sensible, practical solutions to workplace health problems," said Joseph A. Dear, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, at the signing ceremony held at OSHA headquarters in Washington today. "Paving workers surfacing our highways and streets will no longer have to put up with teary eyes, runny noses and other possible effects caused by irritating asphalt fumes. The ventilation systems also reduce heat, an added benefit."
In addition to equipment manufacturers, OSHA, the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA), the Federal Highway Administration (which funded research on the ventilation systems), the Laborers' Health & Safety Fund of North America and the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) signed the agreement. Under the agreement, paving equipment manufacturers committed to produce new highway-class pavers using the recommended ventilation equipment include Roadtec, Inc.; Cedarapids, Inc.; Blaw-Knox Construction Equipment Corp.; Champion Road Machinery, Inc.; Caterpillar Paving Products, Inc.; and Dynapac USA.
Asphalt fumes were among the concerns listed by OSHA stakeholders during the agency's priority planning process in 1995. The planning group agreed that asphalt fumes should be a priority for nonregulatory action.
In July 1996, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) convened a public meeting in Cincinnati to discuss engineering controls that might reduce asphalt fumes from paving operations. NAPA and paving manufacturers had already been meeting on their own to address this issue.
NIOSH published a draft consensus document, "Engineering Controls guidelines for Hot Mix Asphalt Pavers" in the Oct. 3, 1996, Federal Register. Final NIOSH guidelines are appended to the agreement signed today. Designed for self-propelled pavers weighing 16,000 pounds or more, the guidelines call for ventilation systems that will capture at least 80% of the asphalt fumes. Manufacturers may also make retrofit kits available for older pavers.
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