This testimony discussed the views of NIOSH concerning worker safety in waste operations and emergency response. The past work of NIOSH in this area includes publications and recommendations made to other agencies. Chemical and physical agents at hazardous waste operations should be controlled so that workers are not exposed to concentrations that exceed the NIOSH recommended exposure limits (RELs). All dermal contact with substances that may harm the skin or be absorbed through it should be avoided. Exposure to biological agents should be controlled. Industrial hygiene monitoring data must be used as the basis for decision making at hazardous waste sites, including decisions on medical surveillance and the selection of personal protective equipment and clothing. Employers should institute a medical surveillance program for all workers who may be exposed to chemical, physical or biological agents at hazardous waste operations. Employers must provide personal protective equipment when there is a potential for hazardous exposure which cannot be controlled by engineering methods or work practices.
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