Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Health hazards exposure to road repair manual labourers

Hello everybody,
As our youth are struggling here and there looking for a job of one form or another, care should be taken on the kind of occupation that they engage in.Some unscrupulous construction companies "specialize" in small civil works such as periodic road repairs which are labour intensive because they have a tendency to prey on easily available unskilled labourers from the general public, such companies generally refuse to grow for the simple fact that it pays more where they are as rules and regulations that govern construction companies of higher grades affect them the least.
One could dwell on the amounts of remuneration paid to the said labourers and make enough of a story but this is about their well-being.
In repairing pot holes in paved roads they boil bitumen to melting point and mix it with aggregates to make patches on the road, the bitumen, or tar, is boiled in open trays made of metal sheets and is stirred constantly using wooden sticks to make it melt uniformly. After melting it is scooped out using ladles and poured in steel buckets and then transferred to the potholes.

Boiling bitumen issues vapours that contain Poly-cyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons or PAHs. At 160 to 250 degrees centigrade range of temperature, where bitumen is in molten form, the following PAHs are contained in its vapours;-

  1. Phenanthrene
  2. Anthracene
  3. Fluoranthene
  4. Pyrene
  5. Chrysene
  6. Perylene
  7. Benzo[k]fluoranthene
  8. Benzo[a]pyrene
  9. Benzo[g,h,i]perylene.
These compounds exist in various concentrations in bitumen vapour but all of them are proven causes of several types of cancer if inhaled.It is not possible to work on road repair in the conditions at which the small companies in question operate without inhaling the fumes directly because one reason these companies refuse to grow is so that they can evade OSHA regulations, such as wearing breathing masks for their workers.
It is important that the public is aware of these health hazards so that pressure can be built to push the government into looking on how to force these companies to comply with the rule of law, otherwise we stand to loose a considerable number of our youth by cancer and other related diseases. 

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