• Part Number:
  • Part Number Title:
    Occupational Safety and Health Standards
  • Subpart:
    1910 Subpart Z
  • Subpart Title:
    Toxic and Hazardous Substances
  • Standard Number:
  • Title:
    Coke Oven Emissions Substance Information Sheet
  • GPO Source:


A. Substance: Coke Oven Emissions

B. Definition: The benzene-soluble fraction of total particulate matter present during the destructive distillation or carbonization of coal for the production of coke.

C. Permissible Exposure Limit: 150 micrograms per cubic meter of air determined as an average over an 8-hour period.

D. Regulated areas: Only employees authorized by your employer should enter a regulated area. The employer is required to designate the following areas as regulated areas: the coke oven battery, including topside and its machinery, pushside and its machinery, cokeside and its machinery, and the battery ends; the screening station; and the wharf; and the beehive ovens and their machinery.


Exposure to coke oven emissions is a cause of lung cancer, and kidney cancer, in humans. Although there have not been an excess number of skin cancer cases in humans, repeated skin contact with coke oven emissions should be avoided.


A. Respirators: Respirators will be provided by your employer for routine use if your employer is in the process of implementing engineering and work practice controls or where engineering and work practice controls are not feasible or insufficient to reduce exposure to or below the PEL. You must wear respirators for non-routine activities or in emergency situations where you are likely to be exposed to levels of coke oven emissions in excess of the permissible exposure limit. Until January 20, 1978, the routine wearing of respirators is voluntary. Until that date, if you choose not to wear a respirator you do not have to do so. You must still have your respirator with you and you must still wear it if you are near visible emissions. Since how well your respirator fits your face is very important, your employer is required to conduct fit tests to make sure the respirator seals properly when you wear it. These tests are simple and rapid and will be explained to you during your training sessions.

B. Protective clothing: Your employer is required to provide, and you must wear, appropriate, clean, protective clothing and equipment to protect your body from repeated skin contact with coke oven emissions and from the heat generated during the coking process. This clothing should include such items as jacket and pants and flame resistant gloves. Protective equipment should include face shield or vented goggles, protective helmets and safety shoes, insulated from hot surfaces where appropriate.


You must not eat, drink, smoke, chew gum or tobacco, or apply cosmetics in the regulated area, except that drinking water is permitted. Your employer is required to provide lunchrooms and other areas for these purposes.

Your employer is required to provide showers, washing facilities, and change rooms. If you work in a regulated area, you must wash your face, and hands before eating. You must shower at the end of the work shift. Do not take used protective clothing out of the change rooms without your employer's permission. Your employer is required to provide for laundering or cleaning of your protective clothing.


Your employer is required to post warning signs and labels for your protection. Signs must be posted in regulated areas. The signs must warn that a cancer hazard is present, that only authorized employees may enter the area, and that no smoking or eating is allowed. In regulated areas where coke oven emissions are above the permissible exposure limit, the signs should also warn that respirators must be worn.


If you work in a regulated area at least 30 days per year, your employer is required to provide you with a medical examination every year. The initial medical examination must include a medical history, a chest X-ray, pulmonary function test, weight comparison, skin examination, a urinalysis, and a urine cytology exam for early detection of urinary cancer. Periodic examinations shall include all tests required in the initial examination, except that (1) the x-ray is to be performed during initial examination only and (2) the urine cytologic test is to be performed only on those employees who are 45 years or older or who have worked for 5 or more years in the regulated area. The examining physician will provide a written opinion to your employer containing the results of the medical exams. You should also receive a copy of this opinion.


Your employer is required to monitor your exposure to coke oven emissions and you are entitled to observe the monitoring procedure. You are entitled to receive an explanation of the measurement procedure, observe the steps taken in the measurement procedure, and to record the results obtained. When the monitoring procedure is taking place in an area where respirators or personal protective clothing and equipment are required to be worn, you must also be provided with and must wear the protective clothing and equipment.


You or your representative are entitled to records of your exposure to coke oven emissions upon request to your employer. Your medical examination records can be furnished to your physician upon request to your employer.


Additional information on all of these items plus training as to hazards of coke oven emissions and the engineering and work practice controls associated with your job will also be provided by your employer.

[63 FR 33450, June 18, 1998; 84 FR 21470, May 14, 2019]