How much do I breathe?

Air Intake Factors

The first factor in calculating the PEL is air. How much air does a person breathe? The answer depends on a number of factors.

Fitness Level

For the construction industry we’re going to make an assumption that the average adult male employee works at a moderate activity level. Looking at this chart, we’ll use 35 liters per minute, an activity level right between a brisk walk and mowing the lawn.

1 min = 35 liters

The average adult male working at a moderate activity level inhales 16.8 cubic meters of air over the course of an 8-hour work day.

The Math

As a visual reference, Joel is standing in the middle of a 16.8-meter cube that represents the quantity of air inhaled in during an 8 hour workday.

1 min = 35 liters

1 hour = 2100 liters

2100 liters/hour x 8 hours =
16,800 liters per day

Or 16,800 liters ÷ 1000 liters

= 16.8 m3

Want to learn more?

The sooner we, as the construction industry, adapt work practices and methods that minimize our employees’ exposure to dust, the sooner our industry will be off the focus list of OSHA and not be the target of their inspectors.

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