Peracetic Acid (PAA) Exposure Limits

Regulations/ Guidelines for Peracetic Acid


Exposure limits and guidelines when using peracetic acid disinfection have been set by a number of national and international governmental and private organizations including the following.  Make sure to follow these for proper PAA safety and training of staff:

OSHA: Occupational and Safety Health Administration
OSHA Hazard Communications 29 CFR 1910.1200

CAL-OSHA: (Proposed limits)
15-minute STEL of 0.4 ppm
8-hour PEL of 0.2 ppm


ACGIH: American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienist
ACGIH Threshold Limit Values TLV :   15-Minute Time Weighted Average (TWA) of  0.4 ppm

AAMI  : Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrument
AAMI ST:58:2013

JC : Joint Commission
Joint Commission Standard EC.02.02.01

Ireland and Canada : Same regulation as ACGIH above

Important to note: Hydrogen peroxide and acetic acid which are always found with Peracetic acid have US-OSHA and other national exposure limits, leaving increasing exposure limits and guidelines for PAA only a matter of time since PAA is the more hazardous component.

The regulatory environment concerning peracetic acid is changing. Even if there is no PEL, OSHA can, and has been, issuing citations to employers under the General Duty Clause for employees exposed to vapors above recognized exposure limits set by other organizations. 

OSHA General Duty Clause 
The OSHA general duty clause, Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, requires that each employer furnish to each of its employees a workplace that is free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm.

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Hazard Communication Standard


Legal Background

1970 Occupational Health & Safety Act created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and empowered OSHA to create and enforce workplace safety standards.

29 CFR 1910.1200 Hazard Communication Standard

  • Requires chemical manufacturers or importers to classify the hazards of chemicals which they produce or import

  • Employers must provide information to their employees about the hazardous chemicals to which they are exposed, by means of a hazard communication program, labels and other forms of warning, safety data sheets, and information and training. [b(1)]

Standard Includes the following requirements:

Assess hazards

Labels and markings

  • Include Product identifier, hazard statements, pictogram, precautionary statements, name & address of manufacturer or responsible party. [f(1)]

  • The chemical manufacturer, importer, or distributor shall ensure that each container of hazardous chemicals leaving the workplace is labeled, tagged, or marked.[f(1)]

  • Labels not required for portable containers for immediate use [f(8)]

  • Labels shall be in English and optionally also in other languages if spoken by workers

Safety Data Sheets (SDSs)

  • Maintain for all chemicals in the workplace and accessible to workers [g(8)]

  • Sections include: Identification, Hazard Identification, Composition, First Aid Measures, Fire fighting Measures, Accidental Release Measures, Handling & Storage, Exposure Controls & Personal Protection, Physical & Chemical Properties, Stability and Reactivity, Toxicology, Ecological Information, Disposal, Transportation, Regulations, Other Information including date of last revision. [g(2)]

  • Suppliers will provide with first shipment and shipments after SDS revision [g(6)]

Training

  • Employers shall provide employees with effective information and training on hazardous chemicals in their work area at the time of their initial assignment, and whenever a new chemical hazard the employees have not previously been trained about is introduced into their work area. [h(1)]

  • Training shall include: [h(3)]

    • If multiple employers, then must ensure that all employees potentially exposed to chemicals are trained [(2)

    • Requirements of this standard

    • Operations using hazardous chemicals,

    • Location of written plan, SDSs and chemical list

    • Methods and observations that may be used to detect the presence or release of a hazardous chemical in the work area (such as monitoring conducted by the employer, continuous monitoring devices, visual appearance or odor of hazardous chemicals when being released, etc.);

    • The physical, health, simple asphyxiation, combustible dust, and pyrophoric gas hazards, as well as hazards not otherwise classified, of the chemicals in the work area

    • The measures employees can take to protect themselves from these hazards, including specific procedures the employer has implemented to protect employees from exposure to hazardous chemicals, such as appropriate work practices, emergency procedures, and personal protective equipment to be used; and,

    • Details of the hazard communication program developed by the employer, including an explanation of the labels received on shipped containers and the workplace labeling system used by their employer; the safety data sheet, including the order of information and how employees can obtain and use the appropriate hazard information.

Written plan [e(1)

  • List of chemicals on sit

  • The methods the employer will use to inform employees of the hazards of non-routine task

  • Chemical Inventor

  • Trade secrets – information can be kept as trade secrets so long as safety information is not withheld and composition is made available in case of emergency. [i]

Pictograms

Standard pictograms indicating chemical hazards have been developed under the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS);2 some of which are shown below. OSHA has adopted the GHS and updated the Hazard Communication Standard in 2012. 



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