NIOSH makes an extremely handy Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards (Pocket Guide or NPG) that industrial hygienists and safety professionals can use to evaluate chemical hazards and create safer, healthier workplaces.
In this installment of our ongoing Industrial Hygiene Basics article series, we're going to give you an introductory explanation of the Pocket Guide.
Before you begin reading, you may want to download our Safety Data Sheet (SDS) Management Software Buyer's Guide, directly below.
The NIOSH Pocket Guide is a handy reference with a TON of information about hazardous chemicals that might be present in a workplace (go here for a complete list of all the hazardous chemicals listed in the Pocket Guide).
Here's how NIOSH explains their Pocket Guide:
The NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards (NPG) informs workers, employers, and occupational health professionals about workplace chemicals and their hazards. The NPG gives general industrial hygiene information for hundreds of chemicals/classes. The NPG clearly presents key data for chemicals or substance groupings (such as cyanides, fluorides, manganese compounds) that are found in workplaces. The guide offers key facts, but does not give all relevant data. The NPG helps users recognize and control workplace chemical hazards.
NIOSH publishes it, as you probably guessed.
If you're not familiar with NIOSH, here's how they explain themselves on their website:
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 established NIOSH as a research agency focused on the study of worker safety and health, and empowering employers and workers to create safe and healthy workplaces...It has the mandate to assure “every man and woman in the nation safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources.” NIOSH has more than 1,300 employees from a diverse set of fields including epidemiology, medicine, nursing, industrial hygiene, safety, psychology, chemistry, statistics, economics, and many branches of engineering.
You can read even more about NIOSH here.
For each hazardous chemical in the Pocket Guide, NIOSH provides:
The Pocket Guide also includes helpful appendices on:
NIOSH provides an online version of the Pocket Guide to Hazardous Chemicals. You an also download a PDF of the Pocket Guide at the same web page. You can also buy print versions of the Pocket Guide through places like Amazon. There is also free, downloadable app from NIOSH (search “NIOSH Pocket Guide” in your app store or download here).
We hope you enjoyed this introduction to the NIOSH Pocket Guide, and we invite you to keep your eyes open for additional articles on using the Pocket Guide from us in the near future.
To learn more about IH, check out our Industrial Hygiene Basics elearning course--here's a quick sample video for you.
Also, we'd like to acknowledge that this article, like all our IH Basics articles, has been created in consultation with Morgan Bliss, a Certified Industrial Hygienist and an Assistant Professor of Safety and Health Management at Central Washington University. Many thanks to Morgan for knowledge and time; we encourage you to visit Morgan Bliss on LinkedIn.
Be sure to check out these other articles related to industrial hygiene and/or in our IH Basics series:
Let us know if you have an IH question and we'll write an article about it!