|Understand your MSDS with the MS-Demystifier||Search ALL our MSDS info|
When substitution of hazardous chemicals or processes is simply not possible, additional measures to control employee exposure need to be taken.
While personal protective equipment (PPE) such as respirators can help protect an individual from a hazardous material, engineering controls protect all workers by reducing or eliminating the hazard. For example, someone who is spray-painting can wear a respirator to avoid inhaling toxic fumes, but nearby workers without any respiratory protection will be exposed. Through the use of proper local exhaust ventilation everyone can be protected.
Get your corrosion-resistant polyethylene acid storage cabinets from Safety Emporium.
Note: In certain circumstances, administrative controls can be successful in controlling employee exposure to contaminants; e.g., maintenance operations involving toxic substances can sometimes be performed at night in the absence of the usual production staff (but not to comply with the PEL of OSHA-regulated carcinogens).
This does not mean that engineering and other types of controls (including PPE) are mutually exclusive. Employers may need to use multiple types of controls to prevent employee overexposure. Also note that the degree to which engineering controls are required depends on the particular standard. For example, 29 CFR 1910.95(b)(1) Occupational Noise Exposure, allows employers to rely on personal protective equipment (PPE) and a hearing conservation program rather than engineering and/or administrative controls if hearing protectors will effectively reduce the noise hazard to acceptable levels.
Get your PPE training handbooks, posters and videos at Safety Emporium.
OSHA considers economic feasibility to be a major issue with engineering controls. Requirements that would threaten the economic viability of an entire industry cannot be considered economically feasible under the OSH Act. OSHA may permit PPE in lieu of engineering controls (at least until engineering controls become a less significant burden for the company) when all of the following apply:|
In those limited situations where there are no feasible engineering or administrative controls, full abatement can be allowed by PPE.
The preferred methods for reducing chemical exposure, in order of general effectiveness, are illustrated in this diagram:
Specifically, these steps are:
Engineering controls may receive specific mention on SDS's. For example, when a material has a low PEL, there may be a section explicitly labeled "Ventilation requirements". Specific machinery may be recommended - or perhaps specifically discouraged. For example, ductless recirculating laboratory hoods might not provide sufficient protection from certain highly toxic materials; in these cases a properly vented fume hood (perhaps outfitted with a scrubber) would be required.
Two of the most common engineering controls found on an MSDS are local exhaust and general ventilation. There are dozens of types of engineering controls.
See also: administrative controls, fume hoods, respirators, personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilation.
Additional definitions from Google and OneLook.
Entry last updated: Wednesday, June 13, 2018. This page is copyright 2000-2019 by ILPI. Unauthorized duplication or posting on other web sites is expressly prohibited. Send suggestions, comments, and new entry desires (include the URL if applicable) to us by email.
Disclaimer: The information contained herein is believed to be true and accurate, however ILPI makes no guarantees concerning the veracity of any statement. Use of any information on this page is at the reader's own risk. ILPI strongly encourages the reader to consult the appropriate local, state and federal agencies concerning the matters discussed herein.