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Margins of safety provided by COSHH essentials and the ILO Chemical Control Toolkit.

Jones-RM; Nicas-M
Ann Occup Hyg 2006 Feb; 50(2):149-156
COSHH Essentials, developed by the UK Health and Safety Executive, and the Chemical Control Toolkit (Toolkit) proposed by the International Labor Organization, are 'control banding' approaches to workplace risk management intended for use by proprietors of small and medium-sized businesses. Both systems group chemical substances into hazard bands based on toxicological endpoint and potency. COSSH Essentials uses the European Union's Risk-phrases (R-phrases), whereas the Toolkit uses R-phrases and the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. Each hazard band is associated with a range of airborne concentrations, termed exposure bands, which are to be attained by the implementation of recommended control technologies. Here we analyze the margin of safety afforded by the systems and, for each hazard band, define the minimal margin as the ratio of the minimum airborne concentration that produced the toxicological endpoint of interest in experimental animals to the maximum concentration in workplace air permitted by the exposure band. We found that the minimal margins were always <100, with some ranging to <1, and inversely related to molecular weight. The Toolkit-GHS system generally produced margins equal to or larger than COSHH Essentials, suggesting that the Toolkit-GHS system is more protective of worker health. Although, these systems predict exposures comparable with current occupational exposure limits, we argue that the minimal margins are better indicators of health protection. Further, given the small margins observed, we feel it is important that revisions of these systems provide the exposure bands to users, so as to permit evaluation of control technology capture efficiency.
Aerosol-particles; Aerosols; Airborne-particles; Air-contamination; Biological-effects; Biological-function; Chemical-deposition; Chemical-hypersensitivity; Chemical-properties; Control-technology; Engineering; Exposure-assessment; Exposure-levels; Exposure-methods; Fumes; Health-hazards; Health-standards; Inhalants; Inhalation-studies; Injury-prevention; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-hazards; Occupational-safety-programs; Occupations; Physiological-effects; Physiological-measurements; Physiological-response; Qualitative-analysis; Quality-standards; Quantitative-analysis; Risk-analysis; Risk-factors; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Safety-research; Statistical-analysis; Toxic-vapors; Vapors; Work-areas; Work-environment; Work-practices; Author Keywords: Chemical Control Toolkit; control banding; COSHH Essentials; safety margins
Rachael M. Jones, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720-7360
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Journal Article
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Annals of Occupational Hygiene
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University of California, Berkeley
Page last reviewed: January 29, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division