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Surface Contamination

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Surface Contamination Menu

Overview

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.

Standards

There is currently no surface contamination criteria or quantifications for skin absorption included in OSHA standards. However, some specific OSHA standards contain housekeeping provisions that address the issue of surface contamination. Exposures to various chemical components are addressed in specific OSHA standards for General Industry and Construction.

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Hazards and Solutions

Provides references that aid in recognizing and controlling surface contamination.

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Evaluating Exposure

Provides information about evaluating surface contamination hazards in the workplace.

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Additional Resources

Provides links and references to additional resources related to surface contamination hazards in the workplace.

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How do I find out about employer responsibilities and workers' rights?

Workers have a right to a safe workplace. The law requires employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces. 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 Workers' rights under the OSH Act.

OSHA can help answer questions or concerns from employers and workers. To reach your regional or area OSHA office, go to the OSHA Offices by State webpage or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).

Small business employers may contact OSHA's free and confidential On-Site Consultation program to help determine whether there are hazards at their worksites and work with OSHA on correcting any identified hazards. Consultants in this program from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs. 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 web page 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. Workers can file a complaint with OSHA by calling 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), online via eComplaint Form, or by printing the complaint form and mailing or faxing it to the local OSHA area office. Complaints that are signed by a worker are more likely to result in an inspection.

If you think your job is unsafe or if you have questions, contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). Your contact will be kept 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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