Nickel (Ni) is a hard, silvery-white metal that may cause irritation to the skin. Exposure can harm the lungs, stomach, and kidneys. Exposure to nickel may lead to cancer. Workers may be harmed from exposure to nickel. The level of exposure depends upon the dose, duration, and work being done.
Nickel is used in many industries. It’s used to make stainless steel and other metal alloys. Some examples of workers at risk of being exposed to nickel include the following:
- Refinery workers in nickel processing plants
- Jewelry and pawn shop workers who come in contact with nickle coins or jewelry
- Factory workers in plants where nickel alloys are used
- Workers who come in contact with tools and other nickel releasing surfaces
NIOSH recommends that employers use Hierarchy of Controls to prevent injuries. If you work in an industry that uses nickel, please read chemical labels and the accompanying Safety Data Sheets for hazard information. Visit NIOSH’s page on Managing Chemical Safety in the Workplace to learn more about controlling chemical workplace exposures.
The following resources provide information about occupational exposure to nickel. Useful search terms for nickel include “elemental nickel,” and ” nickel catalyst.”
The NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards (NPG) helps workers, employers, and occupational health professionals recognize and control workplace chemical hazards.
The Health Hazard Evaluation Program (HHE) conducts onsite investigations of possible worker exposure to chemicals. Search the HHE database for more information on nickel.
- NIOSHTIC-2 search results for nickel—NIOSHTIC-2 is a searchable database of worker safety and health publications, documents, grant reports, and journal articles supported in whole or in part by NIOSH.
- Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH) Value Profile: Nickel—NIOSH reviews relevant scientific data and researches methods for developing IDLH values.
- Elements No. 7300Cdc-pdf—Sampling and measurement from NMAM, 4th ed.
- Elements No. 7301Cdc-pdf—Sampling and measurement from NMAM, 4th ed.
- Elements No. 7303Cdc-pdf—Sampling and measurement from NMAM, 4th ed.
- Elements No. 9102Cdc-pdf—Sampling and measurement from NMAM, 4th ed.
- Carbonyl No. 6007Cdc-pdf—Sampling and measurement from NMAM, 4th ed.
- NIOSH Pocket Guide: Nickel Carbonyl—CAS No. 13463-39-3.
- NIOSH Worker Health Study Summaries– NIOSH conducts research to prevent illnesses and injuries in the workplace. The NIOSH Worker Notification Program notifies workers and other stakeholders about the findings of these research studies.
- Specific Medical Tests or Evaluations Published in the Literature for OSHA-Regulated Substances: Nickel—Database listing the specific medical tests published in the literature for OSHA regulated substances.
- Specific Medical Tests or Evaluations Published in the Literature for OSHA-Regulated Substances: Nickel carbonyl—Database listing the specific medical tests published in the literature for OSHA regulated substances.
- ATSDR ToxFAQs: Nickel
- ATSDR Toxicological Profile for Nickel
- EPA Air Toxics: Nickel CompoundsCdc-pdfExternal
- EPA (IRIS): Nickel Soluble SaltsExternal
- NLM Hazardous Substance Data Bank: NickelExternal
- NLM Haz-Map: NickelExternal
- NLM Household Products Database: NickelExternal
- NOAA Cameo Chemicals: Raney NickelExternal
- New Jersey Hazardous Substance Fact Sheet: NickelCdc-pdfExternal
- MayoClinic: Nickel AllergyExternal
- EPA Chemistry DashboardExternal
- OSHA Chemical Sampling Information: Nickel–Insoluble CompoundsExternal
- OSHA Hazard CommunicationExternal
- Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS): Search results for nickelExternal
- European Chemicals Agency (ECHA): NickelExternal
- Gestis Substance DatabaseExternal
- IARC Monographs Vol 100C: Nickel and Nickel CompoundsExternal
- IARC Monographs Vol. 49–Summary and Evaluation: NickelExternal
- WHO Health and Safety Guide 62: NickelExternal
- WHO Environmental Health Criteria 108: NickelExternal
- WHO-Nickel in Drinking WaterCdc-pdfExternal
- ILO International Chemical Safety Card (ICSC): NickelExternal
- ILO International Chemical Safety Card (ICSC): Nickel (II) SulphateExternal
- ILO International Chemical Safety Card (ICSC): Nickel CarbonylExternal
- ILO International Chemical Safety Card (ICSC): Nickel (II) OxideExternal
- ILO International Chemical Safety Card (ICSC): Nickel CarbonateExternal
- ILO International Chemical Safety Card (ICSC): Trinickel disulfideExternal
- IPCS INCHEM: search results for nickelExternal
- OECD Global Portal to Information on Chemical SubstancesExternal