Several organizations publish occupational exposure limits (OELs) including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) permissible exposure limits (PELs), the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists’ (ACGIH) threshold limit values (TLVs), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH) recommended exposure limits (RELs). Only OSHA’s PELs are legally enforceable.
Discuss why you would only use the OSHA PEL at a facility where you were the safety officer, or alternatively, why you would choose to use one of the other OELs or a combination of the OELs.
(Again, this is a trick question. To ignore an ACGIH or NIOSH OEL when evaluating workplace exposures is not an option for the IH Professional. That being said, there are times when the ACGIH or NIOSH OEL may not apply to the type of exposure or work process we are monitoring. Also, be aware that some chemicals such as lead have both PELs and vertical standards with action levels which add to the factors influencing your review of workplace exposures (see https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1910/1910.1025).
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