Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Solutions: Arsenic

Potential Hazards
  • Possible employee exposure to arsenic:
    • during weighing and transfer operations.
    • during maintenance operations. Arsenic-containing contaminants may accumulate in pump oil, the nitrogen trap, oil-bubbler, furnace, or exhaust vent line systems.
    • as a result of ampoule explosion/implosion.
    • while cleaning crystal growers.
    • during ampoule breakout.
    • during loading, unloading, or failure of the glove-box system.
    • during loading or unloading of the reactor.
    • during backlapping.
  • Acute exposures to organic arsenic compounds by ingestion may result in burning lips, throat constriction, abdominal pain, dysphagia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, coma, and death. Irritation of the respiratory tract, skin, and eyes may result from inhalation exposures.
  • Chronic exposure to organic arsenic compounds may result in dermatitis, anemia, leukocytopenia, or the effects associated with several forms of cancer.
Possible Solutions
  • Identify arsenic hazards and perform appropriate exposure evaluations.
    • Perform exposure measurements.
    • 29 CFR 1910.1000 Table Z-1 contains permissible exposure limits (PELs) for organic arsenic compounds. 29 CFR 1910.1018 contains PELs and regulatory requirements for inorganic arsenic compounds.
  • Address all dermal exposures.
  • Provide appropriate ventilation to reduce arsenic concentration levels in the air. Use laminar flow hoods for local ventilation during loading operations.
  • Maintain adequate housekeeping to remove unwanted arsenic and reduce concentration levels.
  • Provide PPE as appropriate to prevent contact. [29 CFR 1910 Subpart I]
  • Use respiratory protection when necessary to further reduce exposure and protect employees. [29 CFR 1910.134]
  • Implement appropriate maintenance procedures and work practices designed to prevent or minimize exposure. Provide proper training for maintenance and other affected personnel.
Additional Information
  • Occupational Health Guidelines for Chemical Hazards. US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 81-123, (1981, January). Provides a table of contents of guidelines for many hazardous chemicals. The files provide technical chemical information, including chemical and physical properties, health effects, exposure limits, and recommendations for medical monitoring, personal protective equipment (PPE), and control procedures.

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