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Oregon OSHA to address outdated PELs

Photo: Oregon OSHA

Salem, OR – Oregon OSHA has announced it will address outdated permissible exposure limits in 2016 through a combination of employer outreach and as many as six new rules.

PELs on the federal level are considered by many stakeholders – and OSHA itself – to be out of date, and the process for updating them is long and complicated.

This prompted Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood to announce in an agency newsletter, released Dec. 8, that the state will pursue two simultaneous paths to improve worker protection in 2016.

The agency will investigate ways to better encourage employers to use more up-to-date protection levels, such as those published by NIOSH and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists. Oregon OSHA also said it will identify four to six unregulated or under-regulated chemicals in need of new PELs, and update them on the state level.

“It is clear that federal OSHA will never be able to keep the regulatory levels sufficiently up to date, at least until a completely new approach is developed and adopted,” Wood said. “But that does not mean that Oregon workers need to go unprotected.”