According to a recent news release from OSHA, OSHA is making data on toxic chemical exposure available.
“In keeping with the President’s memorandum on open government, OSHA has released 15 years of data detailing workplace exposures to toxic chemicals. The data, available on OSHA’s Web site, is comprised of measurements taken during the course of inspections, including exposure levels to the hazardous chemicals asbestos, benzene, beryllium, cadmium, lead, nickel, silica, and others. It can offer insights into the levels of toxic chemicals commonly found in workplaces, as well as how exposures to specific chemicals are distributed across industries, geographical areas and time.”
A massive amount of monitoring data exists, but it is rarely, if ever shared. That (in our opinion) ends up requiring a lot of reinventing the wheel – employers needing to monitor for tasks that are already pretty well characterized. While various groups (AIHA members, NIOSH, university researchers) have tried to compile databases of monitoring results, it’s been a difficult chore. Companies are reluctant to share data and there is little incentive to do so. But OSHA has a massive database. This information won’t remove the need to monitor, but it will provide industrial hygienists with a better guide on what to expect.
If you need help with a monitoring issue, or any other safety concern, please contact us.