New nanotechnology workplace design recommendations released

Photo: DarkoStojanovic, Pixabay

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has just launched new products to provide options to companies for controlling possible exposure of their workers to nanomaterials at work.

According to NIOSH, engineered nanomaterials are intentionally produced to have at least one primary dimension less than 100 nanometers (nm). The particles have unique shapes and physical and chemical properties. These materials are used in products related to medicine, electronics, biomaterials, and consumer products. Workers in these industries that use or make these engineered nanomaterials may inhale nanoparticles daily, posing a potential respiratory hazard.

“Researching, developing, and utilizing these nano properties is at the heart of new technology, just as worker safety is at the heart of what we do at NIOSH,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “The information contained in these new workplace design solution documents provide employers with strategic steps towards making sure their employees stay safe while handling nanomaterials.”

The four new products include handling and weighing of nanomaterials  when scooping, pouring and dumping; harvesting nanomaterials and cleaning out reactors after materials are produced; processing of nanomaterials after production; working with nanomaterials of different forms, including dry powders or liquids.

Each document provides key tips on the design, use, and maintenance of exposure controls for nanomaterial production, post processing, and use.

More information about the products and more information on nanotechnology research at NIOSH is available on https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/nanotech/pubs.html