Whenever conditions suggest high exposures or monitoring indicates a potential for an overexposure, measures to control exposures should be taken. Control options fall into four categories:
- engineering controls,
- administrative controls,
- work practice controls, and
- personal protective equipment (PPE).
Typically, engineering, administrative and work practice controls are preferred over PPE when feasible. Since regulatory authorities may differ in their definition of “feasible” controls, employers should contact their respective authority for specific guidelines. Feasibility issues fall into two categories: technological feasibility and economic feasibility. Technological feasibility can generally be determined by examining the use of the technology in similar industries or for similar processes. Independent studies available from regulatory agencies, trade associations and other industry support groups or reported in journals or other publications can also shed light on the issue. Determination of economic feasibility may require that a facility- or company-specific impact evaluation be made. Employers should be aware that regulatory authorities may already have determined that feasible engineering controls to achieve the OEL are available for particular industries or types of operation.