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Control Banding

The International Labour Organization defines Control Banding as “a complementary approach to protecting worker health by focusing resources on exposure controls. Since it is not possible to assign a specific Occupational Exposure Limit to every chemical in use, a chemical is assigned to a ‘band’ for control measures, based on its hazard classification according to international criteria, the amount of chemical in use, and its volatility/dustiness.”1 The banding is then utilized to recommend four possible control strategies.

Below is an example of how control banding might be used with respect to nanomaterials:

Exposure Control

  • Establish designated areas for Control Banding
    • Examples: Entire laboratory or manufacturing area, or portion of the larger area, such as a laboratory hood or glove box
  • Designated areas are posted with warning signs informing employees that they are entering a nanomaterial work area
  • Signs specify administrative controls and personal protective equipment required for entry
  • Utilize following table to determine the overall risk level of the activity and the appropriate control strategies
Exposure
Duration
Bound
Materials
Potential
Release
Free /
Unbound
Hazard Group A (Known to be inert)
Short
1
1
2
Medium
1
1
2
Long
1
2
2
Hazard Group B (Understand reactivity/function)
Short
1
2
2
Medium
1
2
3
Long
1
3
3
Hazard Group C (Unknown Properties)
Short
2
2
3
Medium
2
3
4
Long
2
4
4

Exposure Duration Key: Short: < 4 hours/day, 2 days/week Medium: 4 to 6 hours/day, 3 to 5 days/week Long: 6 to > 8 hours/day, 3 to 5 days/week

Release Key: Bound: Nanoparticles in Solid Matrix Potential: Nanoparticles in friable or sol gel matrix Free/Unbound: Nanoparticles unbound, not aggregated

Control Band (Risk Level) Key: 1: General ventiliation and personal protective equipment (“PPE”) 2: Engineering controls and/or respirators, additional PPE 3: Containment (e.g., glove box) 4: Seek specialist advice

Please see the following resources for more information about the utilization of control banding with respect to nanomaterials:

1. International Labour Organization, SafeWork