NIOSH Requests Input on Banding Process

APRIL 12, 2017

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) last month published a Federal Register Notice, announcing a May 23 public meeting to solicit input on its draft document, “The NIOSH Occupational Exposure Banding Process: Guidance for the Evaluation of Chemical Hazards.”

The proposed NIOSH occupational exposure banding process utilizes a three-tiered approach. Each tier of the process has a different requirement for data sufficiency that allows stakeholders to use the exposure banding process in many different situations. Selection of the most appropriate tier for a specific banding situation depends on the quantity and quality of the available data and the training and expertise of the user. NIOSH’s proposal is different from “control banding” that groups workplace risks into control categories or bands based on combinations of hazard and exposure information.

As noted on NIOSH’s website:

Occupational exposure banding is a process of quickly assigning chemicals into specific categories or bands. These bands are assigned based on a chemical’s potency and the negative health outcomes associated with exposure to the chemical. The output of this process is an occupational exposure band (OEB), which corresponds to a range of exposure concentrations that is expected to be protective to worker health. Recently the National Institute for Occupational and Safety Health (NIOSH) has developed a process to apply the occupational exposure banding process to a broad spectrum of occupational settings. The NIOSH occupational exposure banding process uses available, but often limited, toxicological data to determine a potential range of chemical exposure levels that can be used as targets for exposure controls to reduce risk among workers.

Interested ILMA members can register to participate in the May 23 meeting that will be held in Cincinnati by emailing nioshdocket@cdc.gov or calling (513)-533-8611no later than April 21.

Written comments on NIOSH’s proposal can be submitted until June 13.

This topic will be addressed during ILMA’s Metalworking Fluids Committee meeting at next week’s Management Forum.