NIOSH recommendations for occupational safety and health standards
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NIOSH recommendations for occupational safety and health standards

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      Acting under the authority of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (Public Law 91-596), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) develops, and periodically revises, recommendations for limits of exposure to potentially hazardous substances or conditions in the workplace. It also recommends preventive measures designed to reduce or eliminate adverse health effects of these hazards. In formulating these recommendations, NIOSH evaluates all known and available scientific information relevant to the potential hazard. These recommendations are then published and transmitted to the Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for use in promulgating legal standards.

      NIOSH recommendations are published in a variety of documents. Criteria Documents specify a NIOSH recommended exposure limit (REL) and appropriate preventive measures designed to reduce or eliminate adverse health effects. Special Hazard Reviews, Occupational Hazard Assessments, and Technical Guidelines are other types of documents published by NIOSH which complement the Institute's recommendations for standards. These documents provide assessments, from a safety and health standpoint, of specific problems associated with a given agent or hazard, and recommend control and surveillance methods.

      Although these documents do not supplant the more comprehensive Criteria Document, they are prepared in such a way as to assist OSHA in the formulation of regulations. NIOSH also periodically presents testimony before various Congressional committees and at regulatory hearings convened by OSHA. The testimony presented always includes the current NIOSH policy concerning the particular hazard in question.

      NIOSH also publishes documents known as Current Intelligence Bulletins (CIB) which review and evaluate emerging information on occupational hazards. Each CIB is based on rapid evaluation of new and changing information on a particular hazard in light of existing knowledge.

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