NEXT GENERATION GAS STERILIZATION

MEETING OSHA’S ETHYLENE OXIDE REGULATIONS

THE OSHA RULES

OSHA regulations require Ethylene oxide (EO) users to tightly control worker exposure to the sterilant. These regulations restrict permissible time-weighted-average (TWA) EO exposure of workers to 1 part per million (ppm) for an 8 hour workday and 5 ppm for any 15 minute period. In facilities where worker exposure may exceed these levels, employers must institute numerous measures to meet OSHA regulations. A facility is excused from these measures if it can document that worker exposure levels do not exceed those mentioned below under Initial Monitoring Results

 

MONITORING STRATEGY AND METHODS

The OSHA law pertains to exposure of individual workers. Requirements can be met by monitoring representative employees (when jobs entail similar duties) on the basis of 15 minute and 8 hour breathing zone samples associated with operations most likely to produce exposures above permissible limits. Accurate determinations of EO levels require careful attention to both collection and analysis. The least expensive monitoring devices currently available are “badge” type monitors such as the AN93. Electrochemical area monitors such as the AN2600 may be used as aids in leak detection but should not be used for calculating a TWA.

ANDERSEN PRODUCTS’ POLICY

Andersen Products manufactures sterilization systems, which are capable of meeting both the “action level” and the “excursion limit” requirements. Our company supports OSHA guidelines, and we encourage all of our customers to follow these regulations.

OSHA REQUIREMENTS IF “ACTION LEVEL” OR “EXCURSION LIMITS” ARE EXCEEDED

  • Monitoring Program: The facility must establish a monitoring program to ensure that worker exposure levels do not exceed the (PEL and STEL) limits.
  • Training Program: The facility must institute a documented training program. Each worker who may be exposed to EO above the (PEL) and (STEL) levels must learn the hazards of EO exposure and how to use the chemical properly. ANDERSEN PROVIDES FREE TRAINING PROGRAMS BY TELEPHONE.
  • Medical Surveillance Program: Each worker who may be exposed more than 30 days per year to EO levels above the acceptable limits must undergo an annual comprehensive health examination.
  • Restricted Areas: If the 15 minute (STEL) or the 8 hour (PEL) levels are exceeded, OSHA regulations require the establishment of restricted area with limited employee access. Signs warning of cancer and reproductive hazards from exposure must identify these areas

 

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