Employee Exposure

Last updated: September 16, 2018

What Does Employee Exposure Mean?

Employee exposure is part of the terminology used in the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) respiratory protection guidelines to indicate the level of exposure to an airborne contaminant that an employee would experience if not using some form of respiratory protection. These contaminants may include dust or chemical particulates, gases or fumes, or biological contaminants such as spores or bacteria.

Employee exposure is determined through air sampling and other procedures that identify the level of respiratory hazard in a particular environment.


WorkplaceTesting Explains Employee Exposure

The general term exposure under U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines may refer to the presence occupational-specific toxic substances or chemicals in the work environment. However, the phrase employee exposure is a term of art used to identify respiratory hazards in particular.

OHSA guidelines require that employee exposures to respiratory hazards must be identified and quantified prior to the selection of appropriate respiratory protective equipment for a particular worksite. Both the potential exposure under regular and emergency conditions must be evaluated.

Employee exposure is determined by an exposure assessment. This assessment should be conducted for each potential airborne contaminant governed by OSHA standards anytime employees complain of or suffer noticeable symptoms of respiratory irritation or distress, or when visible emissions are present.


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