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Cority recently hosted a webinar with Verisk 3E and the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) on the topic of managing global Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs) with a unified EHSQ system. In this post, we’ll cover some key takeaways from the webinar and answer some audience questions.
Occupational Exposure Limits: A Brief History
We know that major chemical exposures have caused occupational health problems for years now – in fact, we can date back to over 2000 years ago when we first started to see people looking into OELs. But it wasn’t until the last 100-150 years that we have seen further identification and regulation around these hazards. We are only now really starting to understand the risks, document them, and create occupational exposure limits.
Occupational Exposure Limits are used for safety plans, risk management, hazard assessment and communication, emergency planning, incident tracking – the list goes on. They are pertinent to the health and safety of everyone on your team. However, OELs pose major challenges when your organization expands into global markets. Managing multiple OELs across multiple regions can create a complex regulatory environment to navigate as many OELs are not standardized across geographies.
So, what can Industrial Hygienists and EHS professionals do to keep up? One option is to tackle these challenges with a central, global OEL data management tool. With a streamlined software solution, your data is all in one place and integrated rather than disconnected and siloed across departments.
Occupational Exposure Limits: Your Questions Answered
Erin Snyder, CIH, Cority’s Senior Presales Engineer and Alan Johnson, Verisk 3E’s Director of Strategic Alliances provide answers below to some of the great questions from audience members during the webinar:
What do you anticipate happening in the future regarding OELs and trends towards technology?
EPA’s intent is to develop more OELs based on information and research they are currently gathering. There is a lot of research being done around new materials, nanomaterials specifically. With technology, companies can easily monitor, sample, and enforce these OELs organization-wide with one centralized solution. We are now seeing many EHS teams integrate regulatory content into their EHS management system, which makes it easier to manage and stay on top of regulatory changes.
How are companies using software to eliminate redundancy across global operations?
The challenges many companies face when running large, multi-site global operations often stem from having multiple systems for each site. These separate systems have multiple spreadsheets, users and processes, resulting in siloed data and programs across the company. Moving to a unified software solution can eliminate the redundancies with multiple sites by providing a single source of truth. This allows for a central location for all processes, updates, and data to be easily accessible and visible to everyone regardless of location.
Are there services that provide updated lists of OELs for various jurisdictions? Is it possible to integrate this up-to-date information into a centralized EHSQ system?
Verisk 3E provides a global set of OELs for various jurisdictions. Clients can select which jurisdiction and corresponding OEL is needed for analysis. The experts at Verisk 3E dedicate themselves to regulatory monitoring and research, and then follow-up with a data group who screens for quality and accuracy of information. This chemical and regulatory information can also be integrated into Cority’s Industrial Hygiene solution.
Are there statistical tools built-in to Cority?
Cority’s Industrial Hygiene solution has statistical analysis built-in. You can select which analysis tool you would like to use for analyzing samples including AIHA spreadsheets. Bayesian Analysis is also available within Cority’s Risk Assessment module. The Summary Monitoring Results by Agent report produces a statistical analysis of sample data stored in the Monitoring Module. The report includes the ability to run statistical analysis using the following statistical tools: AIHA Log Norm, AIHA Spreadsheet or Logan. Additionally, the SEG Statistical Report displays a summary or detailed statistical analysis by SEG.
Are companies choosing one OEL globally (per chemical) or the individual OELs from each country they operate in? If one OEL, how do companies choose which OEL to use?
Often companies opt to defer to the most conservative OEL available, which can be set as a default value in Cority. The Cority platform enables Industrial Hygienists to compare monitoring results to multiple OELs from more than one jurisdiction/country.
Learn More about Occupational Exposure Limits
For more global OEL management best practices, watch the webinar Managing the Complexities of Global Occupational Exposure Limits with a Central EHSQ System