Health risk factors during moisture damage investigations

Every day, a large team of workers such as consulting companies’ experts are involved in assessing the occurrence and extent of moisture damage to buildings in Finland. Very little research data exists on the working conditions of these workers, even though their number has grown in recent years.

FIOH conducted a study, which aimed to evaluate the health risk factors of these experts and the size and significance of these risks. The second aim was to produce a risk assessment checklist to help the experts independently assess the dangers and risks at their own work sites and to take these into account in the planning and performing of their work and their protection.

We measured the exposure to impurities at the sites of the moisture damage investigation. Furthermore, we studied occupational health risks by observing the work and the work environment at the field sites.

The exposure to microbes was rather low. However, exposure to high concentrations of microbes may occur when opening structures, taking material samples and working in crawl spaces and attics. Dust concentrations may be high and exceed the threshold limit value. Exposure to asbestos and industrial mineral fibres is possible and noise exposure on drilling days typically exceeded the limit values.

According to the results of this study, personal protection is recommended, especially when opening structures, taking material samples and working in crawl spaces and attics. The checklist produced, at the moment available only in Finnish, contains the central risks related to investigations and the related protection instructions.

Contact: Sirpa Rautiala (sirpa.rautiala@ttl.fi)

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