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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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Workers' Rights

Workers have the right to:

  • Working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm.
  • Receive information and training (in a language and vocabulary the worker understands) about workplace hazards, methods to prevent them, and the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace.
  • Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
  • File a complaint asking OSHA to inspect their workplace if they believe there is a serious hazard or that their employer is not following OSHA's rules. OSHA will keep all identities confidential.
  • Exercise their rights under the law without retaliation, including reporting an injury or raising health and safety concerns with their employer or OSHA. If a worker has been retaliated against for using their rights, they must file a complaint with OSHA as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days.

For additional information, see OSHA's Workers page.

How to Contact OSHA

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov or call OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), TTY 1-877-889-5627.

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