Measures to prevent employee exposure to hazardous chemicals include the
use of proper engineering controls, work practices, and protective
equipment. Supervisors and principal investigators are required to
maintain ready access to Material Safety Data Sheets and a complete
chemical inventory must be included in their written safety plan.
Periodic inspections of the work area for safe work practices and
protective equipment use must be conducted. Industrial Hygiene conducts
exposure assessment surveys of work areas to review safe work practices,
to assess the potential for chemical exposure, and to recommend
corrective action. OSHA requirements include air sampling for certain
materials and circumstances, described in this section. Requests for
surveys, which may include the collection of air or surface samples, can
be forwarded to 515-4190.
The objective of the University exposure assessment program is to
identify those areas where corrective action is needed to reduce
employee exposure and/or where medical surveillance is necessary. This
program also provides assistance to employees in the recognition,
evaluation, and control of occupational health hazards. Increased worker
awareness gained through this process should be useful in reducing
employee exposure to hazardous materials.
Supervisor / Principal Investigator Responsibilities
- Assure the properties of hazardous materials are understood by all employees
- Assure MSDS are available and chemical inventories are up-to-date. Assure chemicals which become more hazardous with age are discarded on an appropriate schedule.
- Assure materials requiring exhaust ventilation are used in fume
hoods, biological safety cabinets, or other Facilities- installed
exhausted enclosures. See Exhaust Ventilation for Hazardous Materials section of this manual for assistance.
- Assure appropriate protective clothing is used. See Protective Equipment section of this manual for assistance.
- Assure appropriate work practices are followed. This includes
prevention of ingestion of heavy metals, radioactive materials, or other internal hazards through properly identified work areas and regular
cleaning of work surfaces. Proper handling and disposal of sharps (e.g. needles, etc) will reduce the risk of injection.
- Review the Exposure Assessment Criteria section, listed below. Please contact Industrial Hygiene (515-4190) if your work area matches this criteria and if your lab has not had an exposure assessment conducted within the past year.
- Contact Industrial Hygiene if questions or concerns arise regarding chemical handling or the effects of toxic or corrosive materials.
- Implement corrective actions recommended by Industrial Hygiene through the work area health assessment program.
- Provide a copy of air sampling results promptly to affected employees.
Industrial Hygiene Department Responsibilities
- Industrial Hygiene will notify supervisors and/or principal investigators to coordinate work area health hazard assessments based on a review of lab safety plans.
- Safety Plan chemical inventories will be reviewed prior to the assessment.
- Health hazard assessments will include interaction with lab occupants and dissemination of written information (fume hood use, protective equipment)
- Conclusions reached during the work area assessment will be used as the basis forrecommendations for changes in work practices, engineering controls, protective equipment.
- Work area health hazard assessments will also be used to determine whether air sampling is necessary or if medical surveillance of employees is necessary.
- Health hazard assessments will be filed in the Environmental Health and Safety Center, referenced by safety plan number and work location.
- A summary of findings will be forwarded to the principal investigator or work area supervisor for corrective action.
Exposure Assessment Criteria
The Industrial Hygiene Department uses the following criteria for prioritizing locations for exposure assessment. Supervisors / principal investigators should contact Industrial Hygiene if the following criteria apply to their work area:
- Use of OSHA regulated materials which require air sampling under specific conditions.
- Laboratory Scale Use of Chemicals - "Lab Scale" means the
laboratory use of containers which are designed to be easily and safely
manipulated by one person. OSHA requires air sampling of the materials
listed below under "Non-laboratory scale" and for other OSHA
regulated substances if there is "reason to believe" that
exposure levels for that substance routinely exceed OSHA specified
levels. "Reason to believe", as used above, includes the presence of
visible emissions, uncontrolled odors, or the perception that adverse
health effects have been experienced which are associated with the
materials in use. Principal Investigators of lab areas where these
materials are in use should contact Industrial Hygiene (515-4190) to
determine if a review of the work area and air monitoring is needed.
- Non-laboratory scale use of the chemicals listed below
typically require an initial assessment of exposure, regardless of
whether there is "reason to believe" exposures may be exceeded.
Persons involved in "non-laboratory scale" use of these materials should
contact Industrial Hygiene for an exposure assessment.
- Asbestos - Asbestos containing materials may not be used at NC State
University. Construction and maintenance jobs may involve the
disturbance of existing asbestos-containing building materials. This
work may only be performed by specially trained personnel. Air sampling
requirements are based on type of work performed.
- Vinyl Chloride -
- Inorganic Arsenic -.
- Lead - This covers metallic lead, all inorganic lead compounds, and
organic lead soaps. Sampling requirements may also apply to
construction/maintenance activities where lead is disturbed.
- Cotton dust -
- Ethylene oxide
- The following materials are considered to be cancer causing materials
which are specifically regulated by OSHA. Use of these materials in
labs is discouraged. Use outside of laboratories or use inside
laboratories in greater than "lab scale" quantities (lab scale refers to
the use of small containers) is not permitted. Lab use of these
materials, where determined necessary by the Principal Investigator,
must be conducted in a "designated area" which is specifically marked.
Precautions against skin contact with these materials must also be
clearly emphasized. Please contact Industrial Hygiene if you use any of
- Methyl chloromethyl ether
- 3,3-Dichlorobenzidine (and its salts)
- bis-Chloromethyl ether
- Routine use of hazardous materials without the benefit of a fume
hood or other exhausted enclosure. This would include operations where
exhaust ventilation is not available (e.g. maintenance operations) or
operations where exhaust is present, but the material is not used inside
of an exhausted enclosure. Use of hazardous materials which can cause
chronic health effects and have poor warning properties (e.g. little
odor at hazardous concentrations) would also be a priority for an
- When using hazardous materials, regardless of whether they are
regulated by OSHA, and warning signs such as odors, visible emissions,
or other indication of incomplete capture and exhaust are present
Please contact Industrial Hygiene for any questions or concerns
regarding exposure to hazardous materials.