Health Monitoring Needed for Laboratory Employees

Gao ID: CED-76-160 October 8, 1976

EPA laboratory personnel are exposed to highly toxic and hazardous substances including carcinogens. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 requires protection of employees from such hazards and provides for tests and examinations to determine effects. Findings/Conclusions: Agency officials acknowledged that 778, or 59%, of employees at 11 laboratories visited were potentially exposed to hazardous substances. The EPA had not effectively put into operation programs for health monitoring and they were not given priority. EPA is making plans to implement health and safety requirements. Recommendations: Health-monitoring programs including inspections and surveys should receive priority. Personnel in these programs should report directly to the Safety and Health official, and the staff should be augmented.

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