Excursion Limits Are Valuable When No Short-term Exposure Limit Exists
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Type:  Lessons Learned

Publisher:  Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN

Published As:  Public

Date: 

Topics:  Respiratory Protection, Occupational Safety and Health, Compressed Gas/Air

Unless ACHIG Excursion Limits are considered, exposures to substances with only a TLV-TWA might erroneously be considered acceptable in some cases.

ORNL employees entered the lower level of the Sewage Treatment Control Facility to perform atmospheric testing prior to a confined space entry. The Supervisor left the building to attend other duties while the Safety Specialist completed remote atmospheric testing of the confined space, located below the basement. After being in the basement for approximately 10 minutes, the RCT noted tightness in his chest, and the Safety Specialist began coughing. They immediately exited the building and soon after symptoms discontinued. Based on the symptoms exhibited and the use of ozone downstream in the process, the Safety Specialist secured the area, retrieved a hand-held direct-reading ozone monitor, and re-entered the facility without respiratory protection to perform area air measurements. The Safety Specialist did not consider any ceiling or excursion limits for ozone before reentering the facility as he thought monitoring would only take a few minutes and that the time-weighted average would not apply.

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