Managing Quartz Exposure in Apartment Building and Infrastructure Construction Work Tasks

Tapani Tuomi (Corresponding Author), Tom Johnsson, Arto Heino, Anniina Lainejoki, Kari Salmi, Mikko Poikkimäki, Tomi Kanerva, Arto Säämänen, Tuula Räsänen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The present report describes exposure to respirable silica and dust in the construction industry, as well as means to manage them. The average exposure in studied work tasks (n = 148) amounted to 64% of the Finnish OEL value of 0.05 mg/m3. While 10% of exposure estimates exceeded the OEL, the 60% percentile was well below 10% of the OEL, as was the median exposure. In other words, exposure was low in more than half of the tasks. Work tasks where exposure was low included construction cleaning, work management, installation of concrete elements, rebar laying, driving work machines equipped with cabin air intake filtration, and landscaping, in addition to some road construction tasks. Excessive exposure (>OEL) was related to not using respiratory protection at all or not using it for long enough after the dusty activity ceased. Excessive exposures were found in sandblasting, dismantling facade elements, diamond drilling, drilling hollow-core slabs, drilling with a drilling rig, priming of explosives, tiling, use of cabinless earthmoving machines, and jackhammering, regardless of whether the hammering took place in an underpressurized compartment or not. Even in these tasks, it was possible to perform the work safely, following good dust prevention measures and, when necessary, using respiratory protection suitable for the job. Furthermore, in all tasks with generally low exposure, one could be significantly exposed through the general air or by making poor choices in terms of dust control.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5431
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • construction workers
  • exposure management
  • respirable crystalline silica
  • respirable dust exposure
  • silicosis


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