Workplace Exposure Monitoring

How do you keep your workforce safe when they're being exposed to chemicals and other hazards? Through workplace exposure monitoring, you can get the most accurate and comprehensible readings of what chemicals your team is exposed to throughout the day. 



For the most part, chemicals that are used in the workplace and whether you're spray painting or welding or using organic solvents, those are exposures you want to measure for a full shift to determine what the time weighted average is, you'll find in most industrial plants.

Exposures are not highly consistent from the start of a work shift to the end of a work shift. It's highly variable based on the task and the performance set up at the beginning of the shift, clean up at the end of the shift and a myriad of other tasks up to and including machinery breakdowns people who don't show up for work.

There is no actual best way to sample for it. But we always try to shoot for is what we say, a typical or an average day we refer to the OSHA field operations manual on a regular basis. We happen to agree with it, which calls for exposure monitoring that determines representative exposure. And that means if you've got five or six people all doing the exact same task, you want to sample enough of them to get an idea of what they are all exposed to best case and worst case for an entire work shift.

It doesn't matter whether it's an eight or 10 or a 12 hour work shift, whether they work five days a week or three days a week. Worst case exposures can happen at the very beginning of a work shift or at the end of a work shift or sometime during the day.

It's very important to take a sample for as close to the full shift as possible. We prefer to basically hang equipment on people to collect samples before they even walk out onto the floor at the beginning of the shift and leave it on them for their entire work shift right up until the time they walk to punch out at the end of the shift. And then we make accommodations for four breaks, lunches, bathroom breaks and so forth.

But the goal is to sample every minute of their exposure, so you can say to a high level of surety that you've monitored everything and therefore the exposure that you've recorded is the actual exposure that they've gotten for the full day.

We find a lot of people will do testing for an hour or two and just extrapolate that out to an eight hour exposure. We prefer sampling for as close to the full shift as possible, and we believe it's the only way to get completely accurate data.

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