NIOSH Guide Helps Small, Medium-Sized Nanotechnology Businesses Protect Workers
Earlier this year, NIOSH published a new guide intended to help small and medium-sized businesses build a safety program to protect nanotechnology workers. The guide describes how to develop and implement a written health and safety program, and how to recognize and control potential hazards for employees using or handling engineered nanomaterials. Specific topics discussed in the guide include NIOSH’s Prevention through Design initiative, the hierarchy of controls, verification of controls, emergency preparedness, and product stewardship.
Workers who handle engineered nanomaterials are potentially at risk of exposure through inhalation, skin absorption, and ingestion. NIOSH suggests that employers develop a risk management program to control potential exposures and hazards to protect workers. The agency also recommends that employers create a safety program that responds to the changing environment of the nanomaterial market by incorporating the concept of “Plan, Do, Check, Act,” which is based on ANSI standard Z10, Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems.
The full guide, Building a Safety Program to Protect the Nanotechnology Workforce: A Guide for Small to Medium-Sized Enterprises, is available from NIOSH as a PDF.