Support for Banding
AIHA Committee Seeks to Advance
Applications of Exposure and Control Banding
As incoming chair of the Exposure and Control Banding Committee, I sought the counsel of longstanding committee members in preparation for the ECBC’s meeting at AIHce EXP 2018. At the time, my insight into banding was limited to a logical extension of my exposure assessment experiences, where judgments flow from data (air or wipe samples, models, peer-reviewed literature) compared to occupational exposure limits, which establish an allowable risk. With the advent of the NIOSH Occupational Exposure Banding eTool, I hoped to expand the utility of the exposure assessment process by using occupational exposure bands to create OELs where none had been established by authoritative or regulatory sources. Unfortunately, I found that few practitioners were using OEBs in this manner for exposure assessment judgments. Through AIHA’s new communication platform, Catalyst, ECBC member Mike Phibbs started a discussion that addressed the distinctions between control banding, a technique for determining a control measure based on a range or “band” of hazards, and occupational exposure banding (which is also known as hazard banding). Writing in the March 2016 Synergist, NIOSH’s Lauralynn Taylor McKernan, Melissa Seaton, and Stephen Gilbert provided some helpful context for these terms:
Occupational exposure banding is a mechanism for quickly and accurately assigning chemicals into categories (“bands”) on the basis of potency and health outcomes associated with exposure to chemicals. The output of this process is an occupational exposure band (OEB). Several similar terms are in use, including hazard banding, health hazard banding, exposure banding, and occupational exposure banding. In Europe, hazard banding is more common because it is used with control banding systems such as Stoffenmanager and the Advanced REACH Tool (ART). 
NIOSH uses the term occupational exposure banding because the methodology derives an OEB based upon health outcomes and potency. Stakeholders can apply an OEB to identify an appropriate control strategy and to make risk management decisions. Some stakeholders may use OEBs in concert with control banding, but others will not.
Among the twenty respondents to the Catalyst post, it was clear that the manner of exposure assessment was not nearly as important as actions informed by the resulting conclusions of the exposure analysis. With that in mind, the ECBC can be invaluable to leverage limited technical resources in our profession.  This article provides the ECBC’s perspective on further advancement of applications of occupational exposure banding and control banding to industrial and occupational hygiene.
STEVEN JAHN, CIH, is a technical advisor for Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, LLC in Aiken, S.C. He can be reached via email.