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2005 Gulf-Coast Hurricane Response


Sampling Area Map
Texas Louisiana Mississippi Alabama Florida
States - Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama
Exposure Summary Chart

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Chemical/Physical Agent Samples in Process Sample Results Results
Non-Detected (ND) <0.5 X PEL ≥0.5 to <1.0 PEL TWA > PEL
Gases and Vapors 0 1028 659 312 38 19
Metals 0 5340 5202 130 5 3
Silica 0 626 139 400 301 56
Asbestos 0 887 858 21 2 6
Noise N/A 1425 N/A N/A N/A 358
Particulate Dust 0 1506 118 1309 38 41

Information on Sampling Results

The objective of OSHA's sampling is to support the response activity as outlined in the National Response Plan's Worker Safety and Health Support Annex. The following sampling results are posted for the benefit of employers and workers involved in Katrina and Rita recovery work. These results are meant to help assess potential health risk to workers involved in the most common tasks associated with hurricane response. The results represent personal, area, and bulk samples for various airborne contaminants and noise.

Personal sampling results represent the exposure to the individual who was actually wearing a sampling device. Area samples are taken in a fixed location and results may represent the potential risk from airborne contaminants or physical agents to workers in that area. Bulk samples were taken to verify if certain constituents are present and if so, in what concentration. Bulk samples are used individually or in conjunction with personal or area samples to help interpret the level of worker risk.

Personal and area samples represent an average exposure for a period of time and are reported as a time weighted average (TWA). Unless otherwise specified, the hurricane response TWA results reflect the actual time sampled.

OSHA 8-hour Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL) are provided as a reference value for comparison purposes only. The actual TWA exposure results would only represent a true OSHA violation if:

  • 1) the actual exposure time was eight hours and the TWA exceeded OSHA's PEL or the un-sampled part of an eight-hour shift was counted as zero exposure and the eight hour TWA exceeded OSHA's PEL, and
  • 2) the sampling and analytical error was accounted for in the calculation.

For worker protection purposes, operations where the actual TWA exposure level is indicated as being greater than the numeric value of the PEL, it is recommended that workers wear effective personal protective equipment (PPE), such as a respirator and/or hearing protection when conducting these operations. This does not necessarily indicate that a legal PEL violation has occurred.

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