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Airborne Contaminants WAC 296-841. Nicole Irby, MS, CIH (360) 902-5449 [email protected] Scope of the Standard:. Actual or potential employee exposure to airborne hazards. Definition of “Exposure”.

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Airborne Contaminants WAC 296-841

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Airborne Contaminants WAC 296-841

Nicole Irby, MS, CIH

(360) 902-5449

[email protected]


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


PEL Table (excerpt)


Hierarchy of Controls


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


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