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Environmental Health and Safety

Chemical Exposure Monitoring

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Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to limit airborne exposure to hundreds of hazardous chemicals. Exposure to chemicals that are absorbed through skin and by ingestion can be controlled by using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). However, it is difficult to measure the chemical exposure if it is airborne. To ensure that employees are not overly exposed beyond the recommended guidelines, Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) conducts exposure monitoring.

Some of the chemicals regulated by OSHA that are used at NewYork-Presbyterian are formaldehyde, ethylene oxide and xylene which require routine monitoring of airborne concentrations. OSHA's permissible exposure limit (PEL) for these chemicals are very low and thus can be easily exceeded if proper engineering controls and administrative controls are not in place.

Chemical Exposure Monitoring Procedures

  • All hazardous chemicals present in the workplace must be clearly identified
  • Employees are evaluated to identify who needs to be monitored
    • A selected group can be monitored for exposure provided that the sampling is conducted under the highest potential exposure.
    • The sample can be obtained if the employee(s) sampled are in the same job classification; work in the same area; work during the same work shift and the employee(s) sampled is expected to have the highest exposure of all employees in the group of employees represented by the samples collected.
  • Exposure monitoring must be conducted in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.1003-1910.1050
    • Different methods are utilized to determine the chemical exposure (i.e. direct reading instruments and passive dosimeter badges)
  • If dosimeter badges are used for monitoring, the badges are analyzed by Accredited Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) laboratories
  • Based on the results, employee exposure to the chemical is assessed and appropriate controls (engineering and administrative) are implemented if needed

If you work with any of the chemicals mentioned above, please contact EHS at 646-NYP-SAFE for an assessment.

Contact

Environmental Health and Safety for All Hospital Sites
(646) NYP-SAFE [(646) 697-7233]

Someone is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer your call.

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