April 14, 2016: IH in Construction – Some Challenges and Emerging Issues

ASSE/AIHA Joint Meeting

Barb Epstien will be presenting at the joint meeting. Below is an abstract of her presentation.


We encounter many of the same substances in construction as we do in general industry, such as welding fumes, solvents, and noise, and also ergonomic concerns. However, the unique nature of construction presents many additional variables to be considered for assessing exposures. A combination the diversity and mobility of these dynamic workplaces and their multi-employer and multi-layer organizational structures, creates challenges for effectively anticipating, recognizing, evaluating and controlling workplace health hazards on construction sites. This presentation will review some important health hazards found in construction, discuss some of those challenges and the unique considerations required for meaningful exposure assessments, and offer examples of effective controls. Also the presentation will briefly review a related emerging issue: the impact of environmental sustainability and “green” construction on occupational health and safety and the often-unanticipated implications (a.k.a. unintended consequences) for construction workers.

Barb Epstien is a senior project manager in the Portland office of Forensic Analytical Consulting Services (FACS). She is a CIH with a masters in public health from the University of Illinois and is an AIHA Fellow. She has done a variety of IH work in the construction sector including health hazard exposure assessments over the years, and more recently also provides LEED “green building” IAQ testing for new construction and major renovations.