Monthly Round Up of Important Ideas and Standards in
Industrial Hygiene and Safety
IN THIS ISSUE: Sampling and Analytical Methods
In order to evaluate employee exposures to chemicals and other hazardous materials, industrial hygienists use occupational exposure limits (OEL). These may include the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Values (TLV), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL), or National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health NIOSH (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limits (REL) or other published standards.
Once the chemical of concern is identified and the appropriate standard(s) chosen, industrial hygienists must determine how the contaminant should be sampled and analyzed. For analysis in the US, the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) is the recognized accrediting organization for laboratories that analyze worker exposure samples.
NIOSH and OSHA publish sampling and analytical methods that are used for the collection and analysis of worker exposure sampling. OSHA procedures were designed and tested for internal use by OSHA personnel. However, they too are widely used by hygienists and laboratories. (See OSHA Sampling and Analytical Methods).
NIOSH publishes the Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM) currently in its fifth edition. “NMAM is a collection of methods for sampling and analysis of contaminants in workplace air, surfaces, and in the blood and urine of workers who are occupationally exposed. These methods have been developed or adapted by NIOSH or its partners and have been evaluated according to established experimental protocols and performance criteria. NMAM also includes chapters on quality assurance, sampling, portable instrumentation, etc.”
Other organizations that have sampling and analytical standards include the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), American Standards Testing and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), and the International Standards Organization (ISO).
It is important that employers have a reliable means of evaluating their employees’ exposures to hazardous chemicals and material. The network of standards and laboratories has been created to assure that these evaluations are accurate and are supported by the latest science.
OccuSafe Industrial Hygiene & Safety, Inc. provides skills and expertise to recognize, evaluate and control hazards and injuries in the areas of industrial hygiene, occupational safety and health. OccuSafe services companies of all sizes in a range of industries.
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