Happy New Year. This is my sixth year writing this column and my twenty first edition of Norm’s Lab Corner. I hope you have enjoyed my updates on protective clothing standards and test methods development. I never thought years ago that I would be writing this column or still would be associated with Pesce Lab Sales and the permeation test cell that started protective clothing standards development and evaluation in the early 1980’s. It has been a nice relationship for me now that I am retired from DuPont.
As I put away the Christmas lights and decorations this weekend, I began to think about the coming year with respect to expectations and new challenges in protective clothing developments and standards. As usual the ASTM and AIHA technical committees on protective clothing and equipment will have their agendas planned and meetings scheduled for the year. The government agencies OSHA and NIOSH have had their budgets approved and work objectives set. It is an election year, so I am sure most of the attention will be focused on the election of a new president and administration. However, regulations need to be enforced and research efforts continued.
Speaking of regulations, I need to report that OSHA issued its final rule on Personal Protective Payment for Protective Clothing and Equipment. The final standard requires employers to pay for employee personal protective equipment (PPE). This standard affects general industry, shipyard employment, marine terminals, long shoring and construction. The new rule will not compel employers to supply PPE where none had been required before, and the rule won’t dictate what PPE employers must mandate. It applies only when equipment is used by an employer to comply with one of the PPE requirements of OSHA standards, ie the benzene or lead standards.
As for technical committee updates, he ASTM Committee F-23 on Protective Clothing and Equipment will be meeting in Tampa, FL at the end of the month, January 29 – 31. There are a number of comments for review and revisions to existing test methods to be discussed and voted. One new working group test method (WK16014, New Test Method for Measurement of Cumulative Permeation of Toxic Industrial Chemicals through Protective Clothing Materials) is up for comment and review. This method is very similar to the existing F739-07 method, but specifies specific exposure conditions, details for configuration of the permeation test system including the type of collection medium, its flow rate and method of analysis for selected toxic chemicals. For an update on other method changes and revisions, I encourage you to visit the ASTM web site, astm.org Technical Committee F-23. One of the other work group methods that I reported on in the last column is (WK 9186, Standard Practice for Permeation Testing Data Analysis by Use of Computer Program). This is a NIOSH developed product to be used in calculating permeation data for ASTM Method F739-07 and is being considered to be added to the method. Another method of particular interest to me, since I work part time inspecting radiation facilities for the State of Delaware is WK15823 New Practice for the Fluoroscopic Inspection of Radiation Protective Garments. Later this year the AIHA
Technical Committee on Protective Clothing and Equipment will be meeting in June in Minneapolis, MN to address specifications for protective equipment and revisions to chapters in text books on protective clothing.
Finally, I would like to report on my latest publication “Four Decades of Protective Clothing Standards Development”. This article was published in the November/December 2007 issue of Chemical Health and Safety (CHAS), published by the American Chemical Society (ACS). This article describes the history of protective clothing standards development from the late 1970’s to the present. I hope you find it interesting and informative. I also need to remind you about our services for consulting on protective clothing methods, test cells and standard test reference materials available from Pesce Lab Sales. So for now both Rich and I wish you a Happy New Year and look forward to hear from you.