Comp Clues


Industrial Hygiene

By Methodist Occupational Health Centers
| Date: 05/01/2004

Specific standards exist for approximately 30 substances that may be used or found in the workplace and to which employees may be exposed in the performance of their work:

Those substances include:

– Asbestos
– Coal tar pitch volatiles
– 13 carcinogens
– Alpha-Naphthylamine
– Methyl chloromethyl ether
– 3,3’ – Dichlorobenzidine
– Bis-Chloromethyl ether
– Beta Naphthylamine
– Benzidine
– 4- Aminodiphenyl
– Ethyleneieme
– Beta-Propiolactone
– 2- Acetylaminofluorene
– 4- Dimethylaminoazobenzene
– N- Nitrosodimethylamine
– Vinyl chloride
– Inorganic arsenic
– Lead
– Cadmium
– Benzene
– Cook oven emissions
– Bloodborne pathogens
– Cotton Dust
– Acrylonitrile
– Ethylene oxide
– Formaldehyde
– Methylenedianiline
– 1,3- Butadiene
– Methylene chloride

The standards generally define action levels and permissible exposure limits for each regulated substance. Equally important, additional comprehensive requirements generally exist for each substance with respect to:

– Employee monitoring, including frequency, procedures and notice to employees.
– Employee information and training.
– Engineering and work practice controls.
– Personal protective equipment (including respiratory protective equipment).
– Medical examinations for employees.
– Record keeping requirements.

Employers should determine if such substances are present in their workplaces. If so, they must carefully review the appropriate standards and take steps to ensure they are in compliance.

In 1994, OSHA published a proposed rule to regulate indoor air quality in non-industrial facilities, such as office building and health care establishments. The primary goal was to control exposure to second-hand cigarette smoke, but the proposal also addressed indoor air quality for carbon dioxide, spores, and fungi. OSHA recommends that employers who have indoor air quality concerns should conduct an indoor air quality investigation, which includes:

– Identification of pollutant sources
– Evaluation of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning HVAC system performance
– Observation of production processes and work practices
– Measurement of contamination levels and employee exposure
– Medical testing or physical examinations
– Employee interview
– Review of records of medical test, job histories and injuries and illnesses

For more information on indoor air quality or to find out the status of a proposed rule click on the link below.