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Understanding permissible exposure limits

When your work in Conroe involves the manufacture or use of chemicals, you likely understand that the potential to exposure is high. Indeed, there may be no way to completely remove any traces of potentially hazardous substances (particularly airborne substances) from your working environment. Unfortunately, based on the stories that we here at The Bryant Law Firm hear from clients, it often seems that the acceptance of this fact absolves employers from having to protect employees. On the contrary, when there is an expectation of encountering traces of chemicals in a work environment, employers are tasked with being extra vigilant to ensure those traces remain within permissible exposure limits. 

PEL's are the chemical exposure levels that have been set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that are believed to be safe for you and others to work in. They are determined by analyzing the concentration of a chemical in the air over a certain time period. The final determination is what is known as a time-weighted average. This is essentially the maximum amount of airborne exposure (reflected in parts per million) to a chemical that you can be subjected to up to a certain time limit (typically eight hours) without jeopardizing your health. An example would be 10 ppm of Substance A over 8 hours. 

Keep in mind that the TWA is just that. It means that levels must maintain an average that is below the given number per the given time period. Concentrations may actually exceed that number (up to a ceiling limit) during certain short amounts of time without having to interrupt work, provided that your employer can bring levels down low enough to keep the average under the TWA. 

More information on industrial liability regulations can be found here on our site. 

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