Concept

Permissible exposure limit

Summary
The permissible exposure limit (PEL or OSHA PEL) is a legal limit in the United States for exposure of an employee to a chemical substance or physical agent such as high level noise. Permissible exposure limits are established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Most of OSHA's PELs were issued shortly after adoption of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act in 1970. For chemicals, the chemical regulation is usually expressed in parts per million (ppm), or sometimes in milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3). Units of measure for physical agents such as noise are specific to the agent. A PEL is usually given as a time-weighted average (TWA), although some are short-term exposure limits (STEL) or ceiling limits. A TWA is the average exposure over a specified period, usually a nominal eight hours. This means that, for limited periods, a worker may be exposed to concentration excursions higher than the PEL, so long as the TWA is not exceeded and any applicable
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