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Safety when working in buildings containing PCBs

Construction workers risk being exposed to harmful PCB chemicals when replacing or removing building components. The employer is responsible for ensuring that employees are properly protected against PCBs. Read below about how to protect yourselves against PCBs.

Check whether there are PCBs in the building

Before commencing work, you must check whether the building contains PCBs. If thebuilding co mponents contain PCBs, you must draw up a plan for how to prevent exposure to PCBs during work.

Training and instruction requirements

The employer must ensure that employees receive the necessary training and instruction if they are to handle building components containing PCBs. For example when replacing windows, removing rubber-like fillers and paints, and when removing double-glazed windows.

Avoid contact with PCBs

PCBs must not come into contact with the skin, and avoid inhaling vapours, smoke and dust. Use ventilation, respiratory protective equipment, protective gloves and overalls. Make sure to cover the area and thoroughly clean with a vacuum cleaner (class H).

Be careful not to spread PCBs to others. Remember good personal hygiene, e.g. wash yourhands and face and shower at the end of the workday. Do not take overalls into the site hut.

Waste

When storing waste containing PCBs, it is vital that this is done safely to prevent exposure to harmf l impacts. Waste must be stored in a closed container and labelled with the following text: ”Contains a substance that is covered by Danish OSH regulations as regards carcinogenic risk”.

Disposal of waste must be in accordance with regulations in the environmental legislation. Contact the local municipality.

Protect yourselves against PCBs

When removing double-glazed windows

Cover floors in plastic and cordon off the area. 

When removing door frames

Cover the work area in plastic. Assess the need for mechanical ventilation and pressure difference.

When replacing windows

Dust and waste must be collected. Cover the work area in plastic, if necessary.

What contains PCBs?

  • PCBs are found in particular in buildings erected from the 1950s up to 1977, as well as older buildings which were renovated in the same period.
  • PCBs are common in sealants and glue for double-glazed windows and in rubberlike fillers. Rubber fillers are usually applied around windows and doors as well as in joints between various building components, e.g. between concrete elements and in wet rooms.
  • PCBs can also be found in masonry paint, floor paint and in slip-resistant floors.

Read more about the regulations

Note that we have only highlighted the most important regulations on protection against PCBs. Learn more about the regulations in the WEA Guidelines and Executive Order as well as in the PCB guide (in Danish) and the MANUAL – Working Environment for Building and Construction prepared by the Sector Council on OSH in the building and construction industry.

Work on building components containing PCB, materials and waste, annexes to instructions, 2011 (in Danish) Construction companies (PCB Guide) (in Danish) Manual: Working Environment for Building and Construction (BFA Bygge & Anlæg)

Any questions?

Contact Arbejdstilsynet
The Danish Working Environment Authority (WEA)

Phone hours
Monday - Thursday: 8 - 15
Friday: 8 - 14

+45 70 12 12 88
Press 9 for English
at@at.dk