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Odor prevention & dust control in occupied buildings


This procedure should be followed for all construction / renovation / maintenance operations which will generate air contaminants inside of occupied* buildings or which will be drawn inside of occupied* buildings.

  1. Determine scope of work to be conducted.
  2. One of the project goals should be to use low hazard materials which will provide satisfactory results.
  3. Obtain MSDS for all products involved in the project. Require that contractors have MSDS copies available at the jobsite throughout the duration of the project.
  4. Obtain a best estimate of the amount of dust / vapor that will be generated
  5. Consider proximity of operation performed to building occupants, including the location of building air intakes in relation to the work to be performed.
  6. If the operation will be expected to generate odors or dust which will reach the breathing zone of building occupants:
    • Determine if this exposure is potentially hazardous or highly obnoxious (EH&S can assist you with this determination along with input from the contractor).
    • Determine if isolation procedures such as use of exhaust fans, plastic curtains, one pass air, isolation of supply fans, etc will be effective in preventing employee / student exposure.
    • If such measure are not expected to be effective, arrangements for off hours operation will be needed.
    • Provide notice to the building liaison in advance of the project so that a brief description of the project and the odors /dust to be anticipated can be provided to building occupants. Signage in the area of the work performed listing a project contact and project duration is also recommended for work inside of buildings.

NOTE In most instances, odors / dust associated with a project are of short duration, low intensity, and relatively low toxicity. In these cases, there is little need to reschedule the work. However, advance notification provides an opportunity for personal accommodation plans for persons / animals / research that are highly sensitive to the work performed.

* The intent of this procedure is to address protection of people. In some cases, it is possible that the work performed may be stressful to animals. For this reason, notification procedures for work in unoccupied buildings should also be considered.