NIOSH logo and tagline

Toxic and Hazardous Substance Exposure


October 2003
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2004-101
School Checklists logo

Self-Inspection Checklist

Optional Information
Optional Information
Name of school:
Date of inspection:
Career-Technical program/course/room:
Signature of inspector:


This checklist covers regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) under the general industry standards 29 CFR 1910.1000 to 1910.1500. These regulations are designed to protect workers from exposure to toxic and hazardous substances. The regulations cited apply only to private employers and their employees, unless adopted by a State agency and applied to other groups such as public employees.

Regulations dealing with toxic and hazardous substance exposures at construction sites are different. Please consult 29 CFR 1926.55, and use the checklist Noise, Radiation, and Other Exposures for Construction for construction, alteration, demolition, or repair that includes painting and decorating.

Compliance with this section of the OSHA regulations cannot be determined accurately using a self-inspection checklist. Complex judgments regarding chemical toxicity, duration of exposure, sensitive populations, adequacy of personal protective equipment in use, and unique operating circumstances that may be encountered in a career-technical school setting make a “yes or no” evaluation inappropriate. However, the following general questions can be asked to determine which areas need further study. career-technical school management is strongly urged to seek outside expert professional assistance if the health of workers who are exposed to chemical substances is uncertain.

check mark symbol Questions marked with this symbol may require the help of an outside expert.

  1. Are career-technical program activities controlled to prevent airborne chemical gas, mist, vapor, fumes, or dust from being generated and released into a person’s breathing area?Note: Airborne concentrations of hazardous substances above an acceptable limit are considered excessive and are usually determined by air monitoring. If you suspect a problem exists, consult an expert.
  2. Are school personnel and students free from medical complaints or symptoms that could be associated with classroom activities or career-technical programs?Note: Such symptoms might include headache; nausea; vomiting; drowsiness; vision problems; skin or lung irritation; itching; excessive watering of the eyes; sleeplessness; coughing; excess sputum; impaired motor skills or coordination; skin, teeth, or gum discoloration; and hair loss.
  3. In areas where individual exposures are suspected to be above acceptable limits, has air monitoring been performed?
  4. Are affected persons provided with written copies of air monitoring results?
  5. Are persons who are exposed to hazardous substances above the permissible exposure limits provided with appropriate personal protective equipment (such as respirators) on an interim basis until engineering or administrative controls reduce exposures below permissible exposure limits?
  6. If chemical exposures exceed OSHA permissible exposure limits, are engineering or administrative controls being implemented?Note: Regardless of the situation, every effort should be made to reduce or eliminate all exposures.
  7. check mark symbol Are students or employees included in a medical surveillance program appropriate for the types of chemicals to which they are exposed?
  8. Are appropriate housekeeping practices enforced to prevent any buildup of contaminants on exposed surfaces?
  9. Are appropriate personal hygiene practices enforced such as washing hands, use of separate work clothing, prohibition against eating, drinking, and applying cosmetics?
  10. Is appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) provided such as gloves, aprons, goggles, etc. to protect against exposure? (see checklist entitled Personal Protective Equipment)
  11. Are students or school personnel trained regarding the hazards of chemicals to which they might be exposed?
  12. check mark symbol In laboratory settings, is a written chemical hygiene plan available describing the appropriate precautions and procedures that will be followed to protect students and employees from the chemical hazards?