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PEL movement

July 6, 2012

Based on the latest news, OSHA seems to be moving forward with tackling chemical hazards and permissible exposure limits.

The PEL issue is one that has challenged the agency for some time. Many chemical hazards don’t have PELs, and several of the ones that do are decades out of date. But to create new PELs or update existing ones means going through a long, rigorous standards-setting process.

OSHA currently is attempting to learn from stakeholders how best to improve the situation. The agency has already asked stakeholders which PELs should be updated, and now it’s moving on to a formal request on how to address workplace exposures to chemicals. The idea OSHA Administrator David Michaels brought up in a recent presentation for annotated PEL tables (.pdf file) to include NIOSH and American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists voluntary standards seems like a great place to start. I’m a little surprised the agency hasn’t done this already.

Check out a future issue of Safety+Health for more on this topic. In the meantime, what do you think OSHA should do to improve chemical hazards in the workplace? Send me your thoughts at [email protected] or leave a comment below – I’d love to hear what you have to say.

The opinions expressed in "Washington Wire" do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.

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