NSC expo
Subscribe or Register
View Cart  

Earn recertification points from the Board of Certified Safety Professionals by taking a quiz about this issue.

What's Your Opinion?

During your career as a safety professional, has a worker death ever occurred at your site?

Take the poll and add your comment.

Vote Results

Does your CEO 'Get it?'

Tell us why on the submission form and your CEO could appear among the 2016 selections.

Chemical | Resources | Tools | Hazard communication | Workplace exposures

OSHA releases web tools for limiting chemical exposures

October 24, 2013

  • / Print
  • Reprints
  • Text Size:
    A A

Washington – Calling current permissible exposure limits “antiquated” and “dangerously out of date,” OSHA administrator David Michaels unveiled two web-based resources he said will help companies keep workers safer around chemicals.

Tens of thousands of workers become ill or die from occupational exposure to hazardous chemicals every year, and most of OSHA’s PELs have not been updated in 40 years, Michaels said during an Oct. 24 press conference.

Because OSHA’s rulemaking process is lengthy and the agency is not legally allowed to update more than one substance at a time, the agency created the resources so it can more quickly provide worker protection information to employers. A toolkit offers a step-by-step guide on transitioning to safer chemical substitutes, while an annotated PEL table lists voluntary limits from other organizations, including NIOSH’s recommended exposure limits and American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists’ threshold limit values. These limits are often lower than OSHA’s.

“We will continue to update PELs, but workers and employers can’t wait,” Michaels said “They need to get the best information and the newest information to ensure workers are protected. And this is a way to begin to do that.”