Airborne Contaminants WAC 296-841 Nicole Irby, MS, CIH (360) 902-5449 firstname.lastname@example.org
Scope of the Standard: Actual or potential employee exposure to airborne hazards
Definition of “Exposure” The contact an employee has with a toxic substance, harmful physical agent or oxygen deficient condition, whether or not protection is provided by respirators or other personal protective equipment (PPE). Exposure can occur through various routes of entry, such as inhalation, ingestion, skin contact, or skin absorption.
What does the standard require? • Evaluate employee exposure to airborne hazards • Protect them accordingly
Exposure Evaluations • Personal air monitoring • Objective Data
Exposure Evaluations Requirements: • Determine the physical form of the contaminant • Use “breathing zone”, not area samples • Don’t account for PPE worn when determining exposure • Consider potential emergency situations • Include all factors typically associated with the activity • Address extended work periods
Exposure Evaluations Additive Health Effects: When 2 or more chemicals have similar health effects, airborne exposures to these chemicals are considered to be additive.
“Employee Protective Measures” In the meantime, make sure employees are protected from potential hazardous exposures
Exposure Evaluations Assume that the exposure is “IDLH” What if exposure can’t be determined?
Exposure Controls Use feasible exposure controls to reduce employee exposure to one of the following: • A level below the permissible exposure limits (PEL). • A level that removes the airborne hazard, when no PEL is established. • The lowest achievable level, when exposure cannot be reduced to below the PEL or the airborne hazard cannot be removed.
Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) • Regulatory Limits • Different types • Limitations • Biohazards • Table 3
Glutaraldehyde • Elimination: Use of digital x-ray processors instead of developing film with glutaraldehyde as a hardening agent • Substitution: Based on type of use and needs, alternatives such as hydrogen peroxide • Engineering Controls: Conducting activities in a lab fume hood • Administrative Controls: Arrange storage for transport over minimal distances • PPE: Gloves, goggles, lab coats, etc.
Exposure Controls Make sure your exposure controls don’t create a hazard in and of themselves!
Substance- and Industry-Specific Standards • Formaldehyde (296-856) • Ethylene Oxide (296-855) • Laboratory (296-828)
Summary • Perform an evaluation • Notify employees of their exposure • Implement feasible controls • Follow the requirements in this and other standards
Consultation Services Contact your local L&I office and ask for the consultation supervisor for help with this and other DOSH requirements. You can also visit our website at: www.lni.wa.gov