From: Monona Rossol <actsnyc**At_Symbol_Here**>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] OSHA provides new information on chemical safety
Date: Sun, 27 Oct 2013 16:24:03 -0400
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: 8D0A1699CCD55B1-1398-13EAC**At_Symbol_Here**
In-Reply-To <491BAFF276FF854886DBD3801D4254371A9C23E0**At_Symbol_Here**>

It doesn't make it inevitable, but it helps.  If workers have injuries documented to be from a particular chemical, and if the employer has documentation that exposures were below the PEL, and if that PEL is significantly less protective than the other two workplace standards, it makes using the General Duty Clause easier.  OSHA can make the case that the employer should have been aware that this level of exposure is a recognized hazard by NIOSH, the State of California, and ACGIH (and probably by the DFG in the EU and on and on).  That coupled with the statements OSHA published in the Federal Register in 1992 after the courts vacated their new PELs which clearly said that workers would not be protected by the old standards, I think employers should be using the more protective standards.  It is now common practice for many Industrial Hygienists, myself included, to ignore the PELs in favor of better standards.
There also are a number of states that have adopted the vacated OSHA PELs for their state programs.  And California was one.  Since 1992, CalOSHA also lowered some more and added a few.
I am so impressed with my friend, David Michaels, for doing this. It's about the only strategy left to OSHA after the 1992 decision.
Monona Rossol, M.S., M.F.A., Industrial Hygienist
President:  Arts, Crafts & Theater Safety, Inc.
Safety Officer: Local USA829, IATSE
181 Thompson St., #23
New York, NY 10012     212-777-0062

-----Original Message-----
From: Looney, Bill <bill.looney**At_Symbol_Here**AECOM.COM>
Sent: Sun, Oct 27, 2013 3:32 pm
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] OSHA provides new information on chemical safety

Since OSHA is putting these more restrictive values out there and notifying employers, I have to wonder if they can use the General Duty Clause to make them de facto standards and enforce them in egregious circumstances?
William C. Looney
Senior Program Manager
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From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Kim Gates
Sent: Friday, October 25, 2013 7:04 AM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] OSHA provides new information on chemical safety
OSHA Statement: 13-2026-NAT
Date: Oct. 24, 2013
Contact: Jesse Lawder     Adriano Llosa
Phone: 202-693-4659     202-693-4686
Email: lawder.jesse**At_Symbol_Here**     llosa.adriano.t**At_Symbol_Here**
OSHA releases new resources to better protect workers
from hazardous chemicals
WASHINGTON - Each year in the United States, tens of thousands of workers are made sick or die from occupational exposures to the thousands of hazardous chemicals that are used in workplaces every day. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today launched two new web resources to assist companies with keeping their workers safe.
While many chemicals are suspected of being harmful, OSHA's exposure standards are out-of-date and inadequately protective for the small number of chemicals that are regulated in the workplace. The first resource OSHA has created is a toolkit to identify safer chemicals that can be used in place of more hazardous ones. This toolkit walks employers and workers step-by-step through information, methods, tools and guidance to either eliminate hazardous chemicals or make informed substitution decisions in the workplace by finding a safer chemical, material, product or process. The toolkit is available at
"We know that the most efficient and effective way to protect workers from hazardous chemicals is by eliminating or replacing those chemicals with safer alternatives whenever possible," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.
OSHA also created another new web resource: the Annotated Permissible Exposure Limits, or annotated PEL tables, which will enable employers to voluntarily adopt newer, more protective workplace exposure limits. OSHA's PELs set mandatory limits on the amount or concentration of a substance in the air to protect workers against the health effects of certain hazardous chemicals; and OSHA will continue to enforce those mandatory PELs. Since OSHA's adoption of the majority of its PELs more than 40 years ago, new scientific data, industrial experience and developments in technology clearly indicate that in many instances these mandatory limits are not sufficiently protective of workers' health.
"There is no question that many of OSHA's chemical standards are not adequately protective," Michaels said. "I advise employers, who want to ensure that their workplaces are safe, to utilize the occupational exposure limits on these annotated tables, since simply complying with OSHA's antiquated PELs will not guarantee that workers will be safe."
The annotated PEL tables provide a side-by-side comparison of OSHA PELs for general industry to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health PELs, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommended exposure limits, and American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienist threshold limit values. They offer an easily accessible reference source for up-to-date workplace exposure limits, which are available at
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit

U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit

Kim Gates
Laboratory Safety Specialist
Environmental Health & Safety
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY 11794-6200
FAX: 631-632-9683
EH&S Web site:

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