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WAC 296-841-20010

Exposure controls.

Respirators and other personal protective equipment are not exposure controls. Respirators may be used to protect employees while exposure controls are being installed or when it is not feasible to use exposure controls to remove or reduce the airborne hazard.
(1) Use feasible exposure controls to reduce employee exposure to one of the following:
(a) A level below the permissible exposure limits (PEL) in Table 3;
(b) A level that removes the airborne hazard, when no PEL is established;
(c) The lowest achievable level, when exposure cannot be reduced to below the PEL or the airborne hazard cannot be removed.
(2) Make sure exposure controls do not create or increase employee health hazards. For example, when ventilation systems are installed:
(a) Prevent contaminated exhaust air from either:
(i) Reentering the building in harmful amounts; or
(ii) Exposing any employee to a health hazard.
(b) Temper make-up air, when necessary.
(c) Prevent employee exposure to excessive air velocities.
(3) Use make-up air systems that will not interfere with the effectiveness of the exhaust air system.
For example, make sure enough make-up air is provided to replace the amount of air exhausted.
Table 1 provides examples of possible exposure controls.
Table 1
Examples of Possible Controls
Preferred exposure controls include:
For example:
Using a different chemical (this is also known as substitution)
Choose a chemical with a lower evaporation rate or vapor pressure
Choose a chemical that is not hazardous
Changing a process to decrease emissions
Use hand rolling or paint dipping instead of paint spraying
Bolt items instead of welding them
Separating employees from emissions areas and sources
Use control rooms
Build an enclosure around process machinery or other emissions sources
Automate a process
Using local exhaust ventilation to remove emissions at or near the source
Install exhaust hoods or slots to capture emissions
Use an exhausted enclosure (like a blasting cabinet or laboratory hood)
Other exposure controls include:
For example:
Using general exhaust ventilation to dilute and remove emissions in the work area
Allow natural air movement to create an adequate airflow through an area
Use mechanical fans
This is not recommended for control of highly toxic airborne contaminants such as carcinogens, where low exposures can still present a health hazard
Modifying work practices
Change the position of the employee relative to the work so fumes, vapors, or smoke are not directed into the employee's face
Limiting the amount of time employees can spend in a contaminated area.
Establish a contaminant-free area for tasks such as prep work that do not need to be done in the exposure area
Implementing an employee rotation schedule
Have employees alternate working in the exposure area so that each employee gets less overall exposure
This control will increase the number of employees exposed to the airborne contaminant. Due to this risk, employee rotation is NOT recommended for highly toxic airborne contaminants such as carcinogens, where low exposures can still present a health hazard.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 49.17.010, 49.17.040, 49.17.050, and 49.17.060. WSR 17-18-075, § 296-841-20010, filed 9/5/17, effective 10/6/17; WSR 07-05-062, § 296-841-20010, filed 2/20/07, effective 4/1/07; WSR 04-18-079, § 296-841-20010, filed 8/31/04, effective 11/1/04; WSR 03-20-115, § 296-841-20010, filed 10/1/03, effective 1/1/04.]
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