NIOSH's Pocket Guide Turns 40

Improving the NPG will be helpful to all of us.

I guess we're all getting older, even the "NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards." But in the case of this vital resource, it's staying true to the old Freddy Weller song about "getting better, not older" while turning 40 this year.

Naomi Hudson, Dr.P.H., coordinator of the Pocket Guide content update, and Donna Van Bogeart, Ph.D., chief of the NIOSH Information, Resources, and Dissemination Branch, offered a sneak peek at alternative versions of a redesigned NPG in mid-January on the NIOSH Science Blog. They explained that the 424-page guide remains NIOSH's most popular document—We all know why: It's an essential resource for chemical hazard information—and that it contains data on exposure limits, PPE, first aid measures, and more for 677 commonly used chemicals. Preparing to reprint the hard-copy NPG and update its other versions (online and app) later this year, they asked for feedback about the alternatives and which features users of the guide consider important, such as:

1. The current size (3 x 7 inches) and layout or an 8 x 10-inch hard copy

2. Keeping the current text size and placement of information

3. Adding more color if it would be helpful in following the information

4. Adding new information (skin notations, additional chemicals)

I submitted a short comment on the page in favor of Alternative 2, thinking it had the best arrangement of information about target organs, exposure limits, symptoms, IDLH information, etc. of the three candidates (the existing NPG and the two alternatives). If the page is still available, as it was at press time, take a look and tell them what you prefer. Improving the NPG will be helpful to all of us.


This article originally appeared in the March 2018 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

About the Author

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

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