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Industrial Hygiene Exposure Assessments


a shelf of dangerous chemicals, formaldehyde, xylene

Hygieneering performs industrial hygiene sampling for hospitals and universities in their pathology and anatomy labs. Industrial hygiene exposure assessments are focused on employee exposures to formaldehyde and xylene during daily tasks such as processing tissue and for specimen storage in formalin in these laboratories. Formalin is an aqueous solution that contains formaldehyde and is used as a preservative for specimens.


Hygieneering collects full shift 8-hour time weight average (TWA) personal air samples in employee’s breathing zones to compare to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) and the recommended American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Value Limits (TLV). In addition, Short Term Exposure Limit (STEL) air samples are collected during potentially high exposure tasks to further characterize employee exposures throughout the shift. These type of tasks may include the change out of tissue processor chemicals and reagents, pouring out waste formalin into collection drums, or simply working with large amounts of formalin soaked materials.


Engineering controls, work practices, and personal protective equipment (PPE) are evaluated while onsite and by using these full shift and short term air samples to ensure employees are working in safe conductions and PPE is adequate during the shift. These exposure assessments are useful to hospital clients for laboratory accreditation and to receive recommendations from Hygieneering regarding OSHA compliance and work practice considerations to reduce employee exposures to laboratory chemicals used. By performing annual of bi-annual industrial hygiene studies, our clients have been able to identify high and low risk departments. These studies also provide value when new chemicals are introduced into the lab and they can be evaluated before a large scale implementation. Lastly, regularly scheduled IH studies help collect exposure information for tasks that may only be performed once a week or month, which may have exposure potential that need the attention of an experienced health and safety professional.


For more information on industrial hygiene exposure assessments, contact Travis Fellers at tfellers@hygieneering.com.

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