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OSHA & IOSH

There are three main areas of legislation pertaining to extraction equipment:

  • The manufacturer is responsible for the safety and suitability of the extractors. In Europe, this is covered by the CE marking requirements. The US and Canada generally require equipment to be tested and approved to an appropriate international standard by UL, CSA or other approved test entities. China and Japan have their own standard but will generally accept one of the above, as do many other countries.

  • The safety of the employees using the equipment is the responsibility of the employer. The extraction equipment is generally used for local exhaust ventilation (LEV) to capture pollutants that pose a health hazard. Legislation is in place in most countries to prevent exposure to harmful substances and to ensure the equipment installed for this purpose is working properly. The EU issues guidelines for Europe, but most European countries have their own occupational exposure limits (OEL's). In the UK the Health and Safety Executive is the legislative body and the requirements are covered in the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH). The exposure limits are set out in the HSE booklet EH40.

  • Hazardous waste is the responsibility of the end user. The particulate, fume or vapor captured by the filters in the extractor may cause the spent filters to be classified as Hazardous waste. They must be disposed of in accordance with the appropriate legislation. In Europe this is covered by EU Directive 2008/98/EC.

Please select a country below for specific legislation information for that country.

USA

The Occupational Safety systems in the United States vary from state to state. Below is information on the major providers of the Occupational Exposure Limits in the United States - ACGIH, OSHA, and IOSH.

ACGIH

The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) publishes since 1946 Maximum Allowable Concentrations (MAC), which were later renamed to "Threshold Limit Values" (TLVs). Threshold Limit Values are defined as an exposure limit "to which it is believed nearly all workers can be exposed day after day for a working lifetime without ill effect". The ACGIH is a professional organization of occupational hygienists from universities or governmental institutions. Occupational hygienists from private industry can join as associate members since shortly.

Today, 9 ACGIH committees focus their energies on a range of topics such as agriculture safety and health, air sampling instruments, bio-aerosols, biological exposure indices, construction, industrial ventilation, infectious agents, chemical substance TLVs, and physical agent TLVs. Once a year, the different committees propose new threshold limits or best working practice guides. The list of TLVs includes more than 700 chemical substances and physical agents, as well as dozens of Biological Exposure Indices for selected chemicals. Substances are nominated by the TLV Committee based on new occupational exposure data or requests of governmental organizations, workers, industry etc. The committee decides which substances selected for considerations are to be studied and votes at least once a year on action items.

The committee has developed selection criteria for substances, taking into account scientific evidence or workplace experience. Every TLV or BEI is developed and based on the available, relevant, scientific data for that agent. Some TLVs include also skin and carcinogenicity notations and Biological Exposure Indices.

The ACGIH defines different TLV-Types as there are :

  • Threshold Limit Value - Time-Weighted Average (TLV-TWA): the time-weighted average concentration for a conventional 8-hour workday and a 40-hour workweek, to which it is believed that nearly all workers may be repeatedly exposed, day after day, without adverse effect.

  • Threshold Limit Value-Short - Term Exposure Limit (TLV-STEL): the concentration to which it is believed that workers can be exposed continuously for a short period of time without suffering from

  • Irritation

  • chronic or irreversible tissue damage, or • narcosis. STEL is defined as a 15-minute TWA exposure, which should not be exceeded at any time during a workday

  • Excursion Limits. There is a general excursion limit recommendation that applies to those TLV-TWAs that do not have STELs. Excursions in worker exposure levels may exceed 3 times the TLV-TWA for no more than a total of 30 minutes during a workday, and under no circumstances should they exceed 5 times the TLV-TWA, provided that the TLV-TWA is not exceeded.

ACGIH-TLVs do not have a legal force in the USA, they are only recommendations. OSHA defines regulatory limits. However, ACGIH-TLVs and the criteria documents are a very common base for setting TLVs in the USA and in many other countries. ACGIH exposure limits are in many cases more protective than OSHA's. Many US companies use the current ACGIH levels or other internal and more protective limits.

OSHA

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) publishes Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL). PELs are regulatory limits on the amount or concentration of a substance in the air, and they are enforceable. The initial set of limits from 1971 was based on the ACGIHTLVs. An attempt to extend the number of TLV to other widely used chemicals was proposed by OSHA in 1989. OSHA additionally proposed in 1992 to apply most of these new and revised limits to construction, maritime, and agriculture. OSHA currently has around 500 Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) for various forms of approximately 300 chemical substances, many of which are widely used in industrial settings. Existing PELs are contained in a document called "29 CFR 1910.1000", the air contaminants standard.

If OSHA determines that a specific standard is needed, any of several advisory committees may be called upon to develop specific recommendations. There are two standing committees, and ad hoc committees may be appointed to examine special areas of concern to OSHA. All Advisory committees, standing or ad hoc, must have members representing management, labor, and state agencies, as well as one or more designees of the Secretary of Health and Human Services

The two standing advisory committees are:

  • National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH), which advises, consults with, and makes recommendations to the Secretary of HHS and to the Secretary of Labor on matters regarding administration of the Act.

  • Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health, which advises the Secretary of Labor on formulation of construction safety and health standards and other regulations.

OSHA uses in a similar way as the ACGIH the following types of OELs: TWAs, Action Levels, Ceiling Limits, STELs, and Excursion Limits and in some cases BEIs.

IOSH

The national Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has the statutory responsibility for recommending exposure levels that are protective to workers. IOSH has identified Recommended Exposure Levels (RELs) for around 700 hazardous substances. These limits have no legal force. IOSH recommends their limits via criteria documents to OSHA and other OEL setting institutions.

Types of RELs are TWA, STEL, Ceiling, and Biological Exposure Indices. The recommendations and the criteria are published in several different document types, such as Current Intelligent Bulletins (CIB), Alerts, Special Hazard Reviews, Occupational Hazard Assessments and Technical Guidelines.

Other US OEL publishers
Other exposure limits exist in the USA, published by organizations including :

  • The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA);

  • The MSHA (Mine Safety and Health Administration);

  • The American National Standards Institute (ANSI);

  • The U.S. Navy.

Canada

Canadian autonomous regions have different OSH systems, which are applied according to the provincial regulations. The Provinces are also presented at the Canada - EU Co-operation site on Workplace Safety and Health.

Québec

The Regulation of the Quality of the Workplace deals with OELs, its appendix A contains a list of contaminants. The Joint Committee of the Board of the Directors of the Commission for Occupational Health and Safety revises the OEL list. There are employer and trade union representatives. The Joint Technical Committee (JTC) consists of employer and labor representatives and experts advisers. In the list of OELs, all substances listed by the ACGIH (USA) are included. Types of OELs are TWA, STEL and Ceiling. There are carcinogenicity notations but no BEIs.

The OELs and their criteria are published in the Official Gazette. The OELs have legal force and they are often reviewed.

Ontario

The OELs are reviewed through the OEL Task Force, including labor, management and ministry representatives. For the revision, criteria documents from other countries are used. Revised or new OELs are published in the Ontario Gazette. Some regulations for specific substances can be found on the Internet in the electronic "Gazette" under Occupational Health and Safety Act. A complete list of OELs is available only as paper version. The OELs have legal force.

Alberta

The OELs are contained in the Chemical Hazards Regulation (Alberta Regulation 393/88). The Technical Committee of Occupational Exposure Limits, established by Alberta's Occupational Health and Safety, recommends and revises OELs. The committee consists of experts from the industry, academia, labor and government. The OELs and criteria documents are published in the Occupational Health and Safety magazine and legally binding.