PEL Limits Among Top Issues for AIHA
Thirty-year-old permissible exposure limits for substances aren’t sitting well with the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), which has put a call for PEL (permissible exposure limit) updating at the top of its public policy issues for 2007-2008.
The association says OSHA’s PELs are one of the most basic tools needed to protect workers. These consensus-based limits indicate how long a person can be exposed to a particular substance without experiencing harmful effects. While science in this area has matured considerably since the 1970s, PELs have not been updated.
The AIHA says it is continuing to work with OSHA and others to reach a consensus on the best way to update the PELs.
Another major policy issue for the association is the need to improve the accuracy of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) and to improve hazard communication for employers and employees. The AIHA supports adoption of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.
Nanotechnology, the science of developing and manufacturing electronic and other devices at the molecular level, is a third area of concern for the AIHA. It says that the occupational health and safety issues surrounding nanotechnology are not fully understood and much research is needed.
Here are some other important issues for the AIHA:
- The need to ensure that employers incorporate written safety and health programs into their workplace policies
- Continued guidance on the process used to determine exposure assessment to best protect workers
- A call for sufficient federal funding to OSHA, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure maximum protection of workers through research and education
- New federal and state laws and programs, backed by adequate funding, to enhance emergency preparedness and response
- Accredited laboratories to ensure that test samples of potential workplace hazards are analyzed correctly
- A call to expand OSHA coverage to all public employees