Authoritative Recommendations Program

What are our priorities?

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Authoritative Recommendations Program supports the scientific assessment, development, and dissemination of NIOSH authoritative recommendations. The Program seeks to reduce and prevent occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities by developing and evaluating authoritative recommendations and guidance. Below are examples:

  • Recommended Exposure Limits (RELs) and Risk Management Limits for Carcinogens (RML-CAs)
  • Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH) values
  • Skin Notation assignments
  • Policy documents with recommendations for engineering controls, safe work practices, personal protective equipment, exposure monitoring, and medical monitoring
What do we do?
  • Assess data and literature sources to support evidence-based solutions.
  • Prioritize the development of authoritative recommendations based on requests from:
    • government agencies (e.g., Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA))
    • labor and industry
    • NIOSH research programs
  • Perform risk assessments using consistent and transparent methods based on the state-of-the-sciences of toxicology, epidemiology, exposure assessment, and related disciplines.
  • Integrate NIOSH science and guidance into other agencies’ policy and rulemaking.
  • Classify chemicals based on health effects such as carcinogenicity and dermal effects.
  • Conduct research, risk assessments, and document development activities leading to dissemination of RELs or RML-CAs and related guidance for chemicals in the workplace.
  • Publish recommendations in NIOSH documents including Criteria Documents, Current Intelligence Bulletins, and Hazard Alerts.
  • Identify hazardous drugs in healthcare settings and promote best practices for risk management to protect exposed workers.
What have we accomplished?
What’s next?
  • Release an updated version of the NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, the most widely distributed NIOSH resource. It is also extensively used by emergency response personnel and others.
  • Publish three hazardous drugs documents for healthcare settings.
  • Further investigate the dermal route of exposure to chemicals in the workplace and publish additional control recommendations in skin notation profile documents and related guidance.
  • Partner with OSHA, EPA, other federal agencies, labor, and industry to identify and address critical needs in workplace recommendations.

Mention of any company or product does not constitute endorsement by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


The NIOSH Authoritative Recommendations Program seeks to maximize the impact and reach of science and policy across the spectrum of occupational hazards affecting workers in all industries through the development and dissemination of evidence-based recommendations.

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September 2022