Current guidance for safe handling and control of nanomaterials
Safe handling and control of exposure are important for managing the potential risks to health from nanomaterials. Several guides have been published. None of these guides can provide a definitive, step-by-step approach. However, they can help define good practice in most applications.
The general approach towards safe handling and control of nanomaterials is similar to that for other types on materials. The UK’s Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulation (COSHH) outlines a framework that can be applied also to the control of nanomaterials:
- identify the hazards and assess the risks;
- decide what precautions are needed;
- prevent or adequately control exposure;
- ensure that control measures are used and maintained;
- monitor the exposure;
- carry out appropriate health surveillance;
- prepare plans and procedures to deal with accidents, incidents and emergencies; and
- ensure employees are properly informed, trained and supervised.
Existing general frameworks such as COSHH have been adapted for the handling and use of nanomaterials by several organisations.
Guidance targeting industrial workplaces:
- British Standards Institute (BSI)
- European Commission (EC)
- Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
- International Standards Organisation (ISO)
- Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
- Safe Work Australia (SWA)
Guidance targeting research laboratories:
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
- Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at Lausanne (EPFL)
- UK NanoSafety Group (UKNSG)
Key guidance resources for the safe handling and control of nanomaterials are summarised below.
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