Wipe Sampling-March 2011

Monthly Round Up of Important Ideas and Standards in
Industrial Hygiene and Safety 

March 2011

IN THIS ISSUE: Wipe Sampling

Air sampling, the most common type of industrial hygiene testing, is not an effective means to test surfaces for toxic materials that may enter the body though ingestion or skin absorption. This is significant because surfaces may become contaminated and pose a danger to workers and their families. Wipe sampling, on the other hand is an effective means of detecting this type of surface contamination.

While current OSHA standards do not include criteria for surface contamination or quantifications for skin absorption, some standards contain housekeeping provisions that address the issue of surface contamination.  OSHA’s lead standard (1910.1025) includes these provisions related to surface contamination:

  • All surfaces be kept as free as practicable of accumulations of lead. 
  • Lunchrooms, changing rooms, showers, and lavatories must be provided. 
  • Employees must not enter lunchroom facilities with protective work clothing or equipment unless surface lead dust has been removed by vacuuming, down draft booth, or other cleaning method.

Wipe sampling can help determine whether these facilities are being properly maintained and are effective in protecting employees. 

Procedures for wipe sampling vary.  These steps are based on NIOSH Method 9100 as a general guideline:

  1. Choose specific test areas.
  2. Use a template with a known area.
  3. Use filter media such as a wipe filter.
  4. Use gloves when wiping.
  5. Keep the filter media in a non-contaminated container and ship to an approved laboratory that can test your contaminant.

Lab results should either be compared to standards or listed as detect or non-detect.  If contamination is detected, eliminate or control the hazard.  Engineering controls, better cleaning methods, and improved employee work practices may be needed.

For more information on this topic and to discuss your company’s safety and industrial hygiene needs call OccuSafe at (214) 662-6005or (303) 219-6973 or visit us at www.occusafeinc.com.

OccuSafe Industrial Hygiene & Safety, Inc. provides skills and expertise to recognize, evaluate andcontrol hazards and injuries in the areas of industrial hygiene, occupational safety and health. OccuSafe services companies of all sizes in a range of industries.

This newsletter is published monthly by OccuSafe Industrial Hygiene & Safety, Inc.   Feel free to forward it to friends and colleagues.

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