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OSHA Standards

State Standards

Twenty-five states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have OSHA-approved State Plans, which are required to be at least as effective as Federal OSHA, but may adopt their own standards and enforcement policies. However, most have adopted standards that are identical to Federal OSHA. Other federal standards related to agricultural operations are included for reference.

This section highlights OSHA standards which may cover the use of toluene in the workplace.

General Industry (29 CFR 1910)

  • 1910.120, Hazardous waste operations and emergency response

    A spill or other uncontrolled release of liquids containing toluene in the workplace may be considered an emergency triggering the requirements of the HAZWOPER standard. These requirements would include an emergency response plan including training for responders, personal protective equipment and medical surveillance.

  • 1910 Subpart I, Personal protective equipment [related topic page]
    • 1910.132, General Requirements

      The employer is required to conduct a formal assessment in writing of personal protective equipment needs, such as gloves for skin contact and respirators for inhalation, where employees may come in contact with liquids containing toluene. Where indicated, the employer must provide the equipment at no cost to employees, and train employees in the use and limitations of the equipment.

    • 1910.134, Respiratory protection [related topic page]

      Where an employer requires respirators to protect against inhalation of toluene, the standard specifies selection of respirators, fit testing, medical surveillance and evaluation of effectiveness. Only NIOSH approved canister type air purifying respirators or air supplied respirators are effective against toluene vapors. Where respirators are provided for voluntary use, or employees chose to provide their own respirators, employers are required to provide information on safe use. [Appendix D]

  • 1910 Subpart J, General environmental controls
    • 1910.146, Permit-required confined spaces [related topic page]

      The presence, use and evaporation of liquids containing toluene in a confined space may create an atmospheric hazard which would make the space permit required. Employers are required to evaluate the hazard, and institute a program of training, ventilation, stand by and pre-entry air testing.

  • 1910 Subpart Z, Toxic and hazardous substances [related topic page]
    • 1910.1000, Limits for Air Contaminants
      • Table Z-2 The Permissible Exposure

      The Permissible Exposure Limit for toluene is 200 ppm 8-hour time weighted average, with an acceptable ceiling concentration of 300 ppm and an acceptable peak over the ceiling concentration of 500 ppm over 10 minutes.

  • 1910.1020, Access to employee exposure and medical records

    Employers must provide employees and employee representatives copies of air sample results and safety data sheets on request. Employers must inform employees at least annually of the existence of such records and how they may be obtained.

  • 1910.1200, Hazard communication [related topic page]

    The employer must inform employees of the location and how to obtain a safety data sheet for any material containing more than 1% toluene.

    The employer must provide employees training about toluene if it is used in their work area. The training must include how to detect the presence or release of toluene in the work area, health effects of toluene, and the protective measures in place.

  • 1910.94, Ventilation [related topic page]
  • Specifies construction, capture velocities and ventilation volumes for spray finishing operations, such as those in which toluene might be used.

  • 1910.107, Spray Finishing With Flammable and Combustible Materials

    Detailed requirements for construction and maintenance of spray finishing and equipment largely related to fire protection.

Construction Industry (29 CFR 1926)

  • 1926 Subpart D, Occupational health and environmental controls
    • 1926.55 Appendix A

      This standard lists permissible exposure limits (PEL's) for hazardous substances, along with explanation of how these limits can be applied. The PEL for toluene is 200 ppm, 8-hour time weighted average.

    • 1926.57, Ventilation. [related topic page]

      Specifies construction, capture velocities and ventilation volumes for spray finishing operations, such as those in which toluene might be used in construction, renovation and remodeling activities.

  • 1926.65, Hazardous waste operations and emergency response
    • Appendix A, Personal protective equipment test methods
    • Appendix B, General description and discussion of the levels of protective gear
    • Appendix C, Compliance guidelines
    • Appendix D, References
    • Appendix E, Training curriculum guidelines (Non-mandatory)
  • 1926.66, Criteria for design and construction of spray booths
  • 1926 Subpart E, Personal protective and lifesaving equipment
  • 1926 Subpart F, Fire protection and prevention
    • 1926.152, Flammable and combustible liquids

      The quantity of flammable or combustible liquids kept in the vicinity of spraying operations should be kept at a minimum and should not exceed a supply for one day or one shift.

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