- Safety and Health Topics
Nanotechnology is the understanding, manipulation, and control of matter at dimensions of roughly 1 to 100 nanometers, which is near-atomic scale, to produce new materials, devices, and structures. One nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. Putting this size into perspective, a single human hair is about 80,000 nanometers in width and a red blood cell is about 7,000 nanometers in diameter.
Engineered nanoscale materials or nanomaterials are materials that have been purposefully manufactured, synthesized, or manipulated to have a size with at least one dimension in the range of approximately 1 to 100 nanometers and that exhibit unique properties determined by their size.
The following questions link to resources that provide safety and health information relevant to nanotechnology.
What OSHA standards apply?
What is nanotechnology and its current and potential applications?
What are potential health effects and workplace controls related to nanotechnology?
What are the health and safety research priorities for nanotechnology?
Where can I find additional information?
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 help 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.