Federal agencies Workplace exposures Video

OSHA seeks dialogue on PELs, chemical exposures

David Michaels launches national dialog on PELs

Washington – OSHA would like to hear from stakeholders about how to prevent work-related illnesses caused by exposure to hazardous substances.

In a YouTube video posted Oct. 9, OSHA administrator David Michaels announced the launch of a national dialogue.

The first step in OSHA’s efforts will be to publish a Request for Information in the Federal Register seeking input on chemical management and permissible exposure limits.

Ultimately, Michaels said, OSHA wants to determine new ways to reduce chemical exposures in the workplace. The agency will be seeking stakeholder feedback on how to improve current processes, as well as possible alternative approaches such as “hazard banding,” task-based approaches and informed substitution.

“Many OSHA PELs are out of date, and they’re not adequate for ensuring protection of worker health,” Michaels said in the video. “Although there are thousands of chemicals used every day in the American workplaces, OSHA has exposure limits for fewer than 500. And since 1971, OSHA has successfully established or updated PELs for only about 30 chemicals.”

Update: OSHA on Oct. 10 published its RFI in the Federal Register.