By Elizabeth M. Cahill
In many cases, the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s (OSHA) Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs), as published in the Z-Tables of 29 CFR 1910.1000, do not sufficiently protect worker’s health, based on new technology, new data and human experience. Most of the PELs date back to 1970 when the OSHA was first adopted, and the PELs have not been modified or updated since then. Therefore, many technical agencies and industrial organizations such as the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have published their own, more protective exposure limits. OSHA recognizes the shortcomings of the outdated PELs and has published annotations to the Z-Tables to include these alternate occupational exposure limits for reference by employers, workers and other interested parties. OSHA’s PELs will remain the mandated limits; however, OSHA recommends employers consider using these alternate exposure limits to ensure better worker protection. The annotations include Cal/OSHA’s PELs, NIOSH’s Recommended Exposure Limits (RELs) and the ACGIH’s Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs).
“Permissible Exposure Limits – Annotated Tables”. OSHA. n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2013. https://www.osha.gov/dsg/annotated-pels/index.html