OSHA requires verification that employee chemical exposures are kept below permissible exposure levels. When needed, VEHS staff in the Hospital/Clinic Safety & Training section perform monitoring to verify that hazardous chemicals remain at safe levels in all VUMC clinical and clinical support areas.
Following is a partial listing of chemicals that are periodically monitored by VEHS staff in the medical center. Links to pertinent information on the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is provided for each item.
- Formaldehyde (OSHA information)
- The VUMC Pathology department uses formaldehyde for preservation of tissue samples.
- Glutaraldehyde (OSHA information)
- Glutaraldehyde is used in Cidex and other products used in high-level disinfection.
- Xylenes are used as a solvent for various purposes in the Pathology.
- Lead (OSHA information)
- Lead is molded into shields used in Radiation Oncology.
- Ethylene Oxide (OSHA information)
- Ethylene Oxide is used to sterilize medical equipment.
- Waste Anesthetic Gases (OSHA information)
- Waste Anesthetic Gases are generated in operating rooms during surgical procedures. VEHS performs periodic monitoring of waste anesthetic gases in all VUMC surgical areas to verify that the exhaust system that removes anesthetic gases from these rooms remain in optimal condition for the safety of operating room personnel.
- VEHS performs quarterly monitoring of the machines that are used to administer anesthesia gases to verify proper and safe operation. VEHS also performs annual monitoring of waste anesthetic gases exposure to operating room personnel to verify that levels do not exceed recommended exposure levels.
See also Chemical Exposure Monitoring.