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Content archived on 2024-06-18

Innovative strategies, methods and tools for occupational risks management of manufactured nanomaterials (MNMs) in the construction industry

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Novel models and tools to improve occupational safety in construction

As use of manufactured nanomaterials (MNMs) in Europe's construction industry has increased, so have concerns about their safety. An EU initiative delivered easy-to-use, cost-effective ways to protect workers.

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The EU-funded SCAFFOLD (Innovative strategies, methods and tools for occupational risks management of manufactured nanomaterials (MNMs) in the construction industry) project sought to help manage occupational exposure to MNMs by developing, testing, validating and disseminating strategies, methods and software tools. Project partners began with the collection, review and analysis of relevant quantitative and qualitative information, and data on current strategies and tools in place for workers' protection against MNMs. Topics addressed included risk assessment, risk protection and control, and risk management. In developing innovative strategies for risk prevention in selected scenarios and products for the construction industry, the team considered 5 types of MNMs, 6 construction applications and 26 occupational exposure scenarios. Project findings led to the development of a fully customisable and robust risk management model (RMM) to cope with occupational exposure to MNMs along the entire construction life cycle. In addition, an accompanying software toolkit was developed to facilitate its diagnosis, implementation and audit in large and small construction companies. The RMM was tested and validated together with the MNMs in five industrial use cases carried out at various construction companies. To promote SCAFFOLD throughout the European construction industry, the project produced four best practice guides for risk prevention, assessment, protection and management targeting occupational safety and health managers. Additionally, a roadmap and strategy for future management of occupational exposure to MNMs were delivered. A risk management handbook is also being prepared. SCAFFOLD provided a range of effective solutions for the European construction sector. Companies are now better prepared to perform proper risk assessment and set up a safe environment for workers that handle MNMs.

Keywords

Occupational safety, construction, manufactured nanomaterials, occupational exposure, risk management

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