Good Ideas Welcome on OSHA's PELs

Updating the PELs is an important issue. OSHA’s RFI is broader than that, encompassing other strategies it could use to address workers’ exposures to hazardous chemicals.

Last year, OSHA issued a Request for Information on Chemical Management and Permissible Exposure Limits, thus taking action on a longstanding top priority for AIHA, industrial hygienists, and the safety profession in general. This was one more attempt to find a way to update the outdated PELs, some of which are sure to be discussed during presentations at the upcoming AIHce 2015 conference in Salt Lake City and the ASSE's Safety 2015 conference in Dallas the following week.

If there were some magic power or easy answer to solve this problem, OSHA administrators would have accomplished it decades ago. There may be no way to update them, aside from a succession of rulemaking efforts, each likely to be fought in the courts by manufacturing trade groups if OSHA manages to get to the final rule stage. But at least OSHA is asking stakeholders to weigh in, and now they have more time to respond.

The original comment deadline was April 8, 2015. OSHA recently granted six months of additional time, moving the deadline out to Oct. 10, 2015. The agency's announcement said that many stakeholders requested more time to develop their answers to the request.

Updating the PELs is an important issue. OSHA’s RFI is broader than that, encompassing other strategies it could use to address workers' exposures to hazardous chemicals. While it's unlikely to attract anything close to the 1.5 million comments submitted on the Bureau of Land Management's March 2015 proposed rule affecting hydraulic fracturing on public and American Indian lands, it deserves both our attention and our best efforts.

To submit a comment, visit www.regulations.gov and search for Docket No. OSHA-2012-0023-0001.


This article originally appeared in the May 2015 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

About the Author

Jerry Laws is Editor of Occupational Health & Safety magazine, which is owned by 1105 Media Inc.

Download Center

  • EHS Buyer's Guide

    Download this buyer's guide to make more informed decisions as you're looking for an EHS management software system for your organization.

  • Online Safety Training Buyer's Guide

    Use this handy buyer's guide to learn the basics of selecting online safety training and how to use it at your workplace.

  • COVID Return-to-Work Checklist, Fall 2021

    Use this checklist as an aid to help your organization return to work during the COVID-19 pandemic in a safe and healthy manner.

  • SDS Buyer's Guide

    Learn to make informed decisions while searching for SDS Management Software.

  • Risk Matrix Guide

    Risk matrices come in many different shapes and sizes. Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively.

  • Industry Safe

Featured Whitepapers

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - September 2021

    September 2021

    Featuring:

    • COMBUSTIBLE DUST
      Managing Combustible Dust and Risk Mitigation
    • PPE: CONSTRUCTION
      The Rising Popularity of Safety Helmets on the Jobsite
    • PPE: ELECTRICAL SAFETY
      Five Tips for a Successful Wear Trial
    • SAFETY & HEALTH
      Medical Surveillance Versus Medical Screening
    View This Issue