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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Evaluating OSHA's ethylene oxide standard: employer exposure-monitoring activities in Massachusetts hospitals from 1985 through 1993.

OBJECTIVES: This study characterized exposure-monitoring activities and findings under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) 1984 ethylene oxide (EtO) standard. METHODS: In-depth mail and telephone surveys were followed by on-site interviews at all EtO-using hospitals in Massachusetts (n = 92, 96% participation rate). RESULTS: By 1993, most hospitals had performed personal exposure monitoring for OSHA's 8-hour action level (95%) and the excursion limit (87%), although most did not meet the 1985 implementation deadline. In 1993, 66% of hospitals reported the installation of EtO alarms to fulfill the standard's "alert" requirement. Alarm installation also lagged behind the 1985 deadline and peaked following a series of EtO citations by OSHA. From 1990 through 1992, 23% of hospitals reported having exceeded the action level once or more; 24% reported having exceeded the excursion limit; and 33% reported that workers were accidentally exposed to EtO in the absence of personal monitoring. CONCLUSIONS: Almost a decade after passage of the EtO standard, exposure-monitoring requirements were widely, but not completely, implemented. Work-shift exposures had markedly decreased since the mid-1980s, but overexposures continued to occur widely. OSHA enforcement appears to have stimulated implementation.[1]


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