Characterizing Near-Cab Air Quality in Construction Equipment
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Construction activities generate many environmental concerns especially air pollution. Air pollution from the construction industry can be generated from fugitive dust emitted from earthwork operations such as excavation, dozing, hauling, and compacting. Another source is the nonroad mobile pollution emitted from the equipment tailpipe, in the form of diesel exhaust (DE). Consequently, the health impact of air pollution is extremely hazardous. Research regarding near cab air quality for construction equipment is very limited and there is no national benchmark for DE exposure. This research objectives were to measure and characterize air pollutants in the near-cab environment of heavy duty diesel construction equipment. The pollutants investigated include oxides of nitrogen (NO and NO2), carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), Particulate matter (PMv2.5) and black carbon (BC). Data were collected from construction equipment utilizing instruments that were placed inside of the equipment cabs and collecting pollutant concentration every minute over the course of the day. HDD Equipment tested were excavators, dozers, wheel loaders, and a compactor. We obtained 24 datasets. Descriptive statistics including mean, maximum, minimum, standard deviation and variance were determined and comparisons to the Permissible Exposure Limits from OSHA, NIOSH, and EPA were conducted. Results showed the mean and the maximum levels of PvM2.5 were higher than the allowable LEED and OSHA levels. It was difficult to interpret BC levels as there is no national permissible level for BC. Multiple CO2 results exceeded the national EPA benchmarks, while CO levels were within the range of OSHA and NIOSH benchmarks, the majority of NOv2 levels were below the national benchmarks. According to EPA Engine Tier, Tier 2 showed highest emissions of NOv2, Tier 3 had highest emissions of PMv2.5 and BC, and Tier 4 had the highest emissions of CO and COv2. Conclusion: the near cab environment for construction equipment exposes operators to air pollutants, sometimes exceeding the permissible levels which poses health hazards. More research is needed to evaluate the near cab environment and national benchmarks should be considered to minimize such risks.
Indoor air quality
Particulate Matter 2.5
Elkhouly, Sherif Kamel AbdelRahman (2019). Characterizing Near-Cab Air Quality in Construction Equipment. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from