BEFORE THE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION WASHINGTON, D. C. : STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE COUNCIL ON WAGE AND PRICE STABILITY OF DIANNE LEVINE SENIOR ECONOMIST

by Dianne Levine on September 8, 1986
by Dianne Levine

On January 21, 1975, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposed a revised standard for worker exposure to inor9anic arsenic (40 FR 3392). OSHA held informal hearings on the proposed standard on April 8-11 and April 14-16, 1975. On June 24, 1976, OSHA released the Inflation Impact Statement (115) for the proposal 11 and announced hearings specifically on the lIS (plus some new evidence submitted since the 1975 hearings) for August 24, 1976; these hearings were then delayed until September 8, 1976.

The proposed standard is a performance standard setting a maximum concentration for an eight-hour time weighted average of 0.004 milligrams of arsenic per cubic meter of air (0.004 mg As/m3). Additionally, a ceiling limit of .01 mg As/m3 is proposed for any 15 minute time period. The present OSHA standard for arsenic and its compounds is 0.5 mg As/m3, also on an eight-hour time weighted average basis. The proposed standard represents a l25-fold reduction in the permissible worker exposure level. Under the proposal, employers would be required to “immediately institute feasible engineering controls to reduce employee exposure to inorganic arsenic to at or below .004 mg As/m3” (40 FR 3397).  In those pl ants where engineering contro1s “will not reduce exposure to the permissible level, they must nonetheless be implemented to reduce exposures to the lowest practical level, and be supplemented by the use of work practice controls or respirators to provide necessary protection.” (Ibid.) .

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