Formaldehyde is a toxic chemical compound that is commonly used in laboratory operations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has adopted a Formaldehyde Standard to protect workers from contamination or hazardous exposure. This training session addresses this Standard and how lab workers can protect themselves on the job. The provision of the OSHA 1910.1048 Formaldehyde Standard that applies to laboratories covered under the OSHA Laboratory Standard (1910.1450) is the provision to limit employee exposure to the listed exposure limits. If employee exposure is above the action level, permissible exposure limit (PEL), or short-term exposure limit (STEL), periodic monitoring and medical surveillance may be required. The main purpose of this session is to help trainees work safely with or around formaldehyde. By the end of the session, trainees will be able to:
- Identify the hazards posed by formaldehyde;
- Know how to access information about the hazards posed by formaldehyde and how to control them;
- Understand the toxicological effects of formaldehyde exposure;
- Identify engineering control measures used at the facility to protect workers from the hazards posed by formaldehyde; and
- Know how to protect yourself through means that include the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and compliance with safety procedures.
Why “Working Safely with Formaldehyde” Matters:
Formaldehyde solutions are toxic by direct contact and can also release toxic formaldehyde gas. Acute overexposure to formaldehyde and formaldehyde solutions causes severe eye, skin, and respiratory tract irritation. Long-term exposure to formaldehyde can result in skin sensitization, including severe blistering, injury to organs, and an increased risk of cancer.
The main points from this training session include:
- The hazards posed by formaldehyde are real and can be serious;
- Monitor for signs or symptoms of contamination or overexposure and report these at once;
- In most cases, protective measures are required, not optional; and
- Never cut corners when working with or around formaldehyde. Follow safe work procedures, and use the equipment that is designed to protect you.