For example, additional changes in tool selection in masonry could alleviate much of the health risks, according to Young-Corbett. With a masonry operation, a key issue is to reduce the silica dust produced when sawing. Now that wet methods are available for hand-operated grinders used for surface finishing and cutting slots, these devices can keep operators' exposures to silica below Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) limits, she noted.
Construction supervisors should also be advocating hand operated surface grinders that are made with better vacuum dust collection systems, also reducing an operator's exposure to silica.
In roofing, the workers' exposure to asphalt fumes and vapors lead to both acute and chronic effects. Lung cancer is at an elevated risk for asphalt roofers. But, as Young-Corbett argued in her paper, delivery of hot asphalt to a job site via a tanker, eliminates the on-site kettle operation for handling and heating the asphalt, and makes a difference to the health of the worker.
Similar relatively simple changes in the practice of welding can also make an impact in the decline of health-related problems. The use of local exhaust ventilation systems can prevent worker exposure to metal fumes during welding, Young-Corbett wrote in her article in the Journal of Civil Engineering and Management.
In general, Young-Corbett said there are still needs for designs for better tools or materials, but in other cases, "effective tools exist but are not widely adopted within the industry…there is a need to elucidate the barriers to PtD adoption and to identify strategies for improved diffusion within the construction industry."
"The further refinement and marketing of PtD solutions such as the smokeless welding gun, the low-smoke welding wire, and the local-exhaust ventilation systems for welding are needed," she asserted.