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Setting occupational exposure limits: are we living in a post-OEL world?

Authors
Howard-J
Source
Univ Pa J Labor Employ Law 2005 Mar; 7(3):513-528
NIOSHTIC No.
20029862
Abstract
Setting limits for safe exposure to toxic agents in the workplace is a complex process involving science, law, and policy. Development and use of occupational exposure limits (OELs) transcends national interests and international borders. Even though OELs have a lengthy history, and they form the cornerstone of most occupational risk assessment and risk management plans, their effectiveness in protecting worker health is increasingly being questioned. To better understand the current state of the OEL-setting process both in the United States and internationally, we need to understand what OELs are; how they are used in the workplace; how OELs are developed and why there are so many different OEL-setting entities; how often they are updated; whether. OELs are effective; and whether there are newer approaches which are more effective in protecting worker health than traditional ones that use OELs. Many in the workplace safety and health world would agree that OELs have served an important role in ensuring worker protection from toxic agent risks. However, the statutory and administrative methods for development and adoption of OELs may not be as effective as they were first envisioned when the OSH Act was adopted in 1970. The inefficient OEL-setting process in the United States, coupled with the changes occasioned by a more globally integrated U.S. economy, suggests that it may be time to review our current methods for assessing and managing risk in the occupational setting.
Keywords
Exposure-limits; Standards; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-health
Publication Date
20050301
Document Type
Journal Article
Fiscal Year
2005
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Issue of Publication
3
ISSN
1097-4938
NIOSH Division
OD
Source Name
University of Pennsylvania Journal of Labor and Employment Law
State
DC
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