Proceedings of the International Conference on Occupational and Environmental Exposures of Skin to Chemicals: Science & Policy, Arlington, VA, September 8-11, 2002. Morgantown, WV: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2002 Sep; :1
Researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) evaluated dermal exposure issues from an engineering controls perspective. The hierarchy of controls are: Chemical substitution, process modification, isolation of the process or workers, administrative controls, and use of personal protective devices. However, the primary solution to dermal exposures has often been selected from the bottom of the hierarchy, the recommendation to use chemical protective clothing (CPC). At best the recommendation to use CPC is accompanied with a recommended polymer type for construction of the CPC based on chemical compatibility with the hazardous chemical. There are often further recommendations to evaluate the possibility of chemical substitution, process change, or engineering controls, however, these recommendations are seldom carried out. The latter recommendations require an in-depth knowledge of the chemistry and industrial processes but also provide a superior long-term solution. It is the responsibility of the occupational health community to team with the technical knowledge base within the industry to promote a long-term solution using intervention methods that are higher in the hierarchy of controls. In a new NIOSH project, occupational health engineers, along with partners, will study the industrial processes and work practices in detail for each industrial site selected. Raw materials, intermediates, final products, unit operations, process equipment, worker interaction with the processes, plant drawings, and process flow diagrams will be reviewed and evaluated. Literature on chemical substitution, process changes, and engineering controls will be evaluated. Recommendations will be given. Interventions will be implemented. An engineering evaluation will be conducted to measure success including an economic impact.
Proceedings of the International Conference on Occupational and Environmental Exposures of Skin to Chemicals: Science & Policy, Arlington, VA, September 8-11, 2002