What Does Breathing Zone Mean?
The breathing zone in a workplace is defined as the area closest to an employee's mouth and nostrils. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (OSHA) defines the breathing zone as the area within a ten-inch radius of the worker's face. When conducting air sampling to determine whether an employee will be exposed to airborne hazards in the workplace, personal air samples may be collected within the worker's breathing zone. These levels represented by the sampling are then compared to the permissible exposure levels (PEL) for the specified substance.
In many cases, this method of sampling is voluntary. However, for some substances, personal breathing zone sampling is mandatory pursuant to OSHA guidelines.
This breathing zone may also be referred to as a personal breathing zone.