A "skin" designation serves as a warning that cutaneous absorption should be prevented in order to avoid exceeding the absorbed dose received by inhalation at the permissible exposure level (PEL). The skin designation which appears with some of the chemical hazards in 29 CFR 1910.1000 Table Z-1 is only given to a substance, which may be absorbed through the skin. The use of skin designation does not indicate that the substance may irritate the skin. Similarly, lack of a skin designation does not mean that the substance will not irritate the skin. Biological monitoring can be utilized for some substances to determine the relative contribution of dermal exposure to the total dose.
There is currently no surface contamination criteria or quantifications for skin absorption included in OSHA standards. However, some OSHA standards contain housekeeping provisions that address the issue of surface contamination. Exposures to various chemical components are addressed in specific standards for the general and construction industries.
Workers have a right to a safe workplace. The law requires employers to provide their employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers. The OSHA law also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for exercising their rights under the law (including the right to raise a health and safety concern or report an injury). For more information see www.whistleblowers.gov or worker rights.
OSHA can help answer questions or concerns from employers and workers. To reach your regional or area OSHA office, go to OSHA's Regional & Area Offices webpage or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).
Small business employers may contact OSHA's free and confidential on-site consultation service to help determine whether there are hazards at their worksites and work with OSHA on correcting any identified hazards. On-site consultation services are separate from enforcement activities and do not result in penalties or citations. To contact OSHA's free consultation service, go to OSHA's On-site Consultation webpage or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) and press number 4.
Workers may file a complaint to have OSHA inspect their workplace if they believe that their employer is not following OSHA standards or that there are serious hazards. Employees can file a complaint with OSHA by calling 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), online via eCompliant Form, or by printing the complaint form and mailing or faxing it to your local OSHA area office. Complaints that are signed by an employee are more likely to result in an inspection.
If you think your job is unsafe or you have questions, contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). It's confidential. We can help. For other valuable worker protection information, such as Workers' Rights, Employer Responsibilities, and other services OSHA offers, visit OSHA's Workers' page.
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