- 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?
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.