OSHA Formaldehyde

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Author: Terry Jo Gile, MT(ASCP), MA Ed.
Reviewer: Paul S. Fekete, MD and Joshua J. Cannon, MS, MLS(ASCP)CMSHCM

MediaLab's OSHA Formaldehyde course is one of the few online courses currently available that addresses the important OSHA Formaldehyde standard. OSHA has fined hospitals and health care facilities up to $112,000 for failure to provide and document employee formaldehyde training.
This course is essential for any laboratory that uses formaldehyde or formalin. Facts about formaldehyde, safety risks, proper handling procedure, monitoring, spill clean-up, and personal protective equipment and are all covered in this comprehensive course.
OSHA requires initial and annual formaldehyde training for all employees who may be exposed to formaldehyde at levels at or above 0.1 ppm, unless the employer can demonstrate that employees are not exposed to this level. For practical purposes, this means that all employees who work in the pathology gross room are probably candidates for initial and annual formaldehyde training. Please seen the appropriate citation from the OSHA formaldehyde standard below.
1910.1048(n)(1) Participation. The employer shall assure that all employees who are assigned to workplaces where there is exposure to formaldehyde participate in a training program, except that where the employer can show, using objective data, that employees are not exposed to formaldehyde at or above 0.1 ppm, the employer is not required to provide training.
1910.1048(n)(2) Frequency. Employers shall provide such information and training to employees at the time of initial assignment, and whenever a new exposure to formaldehyde is introduced into the work area. The training shall be repeated at least annually.

Continuing Education Credits


  • Describe the characteristics of formaldehyde and symptoms of overexposure to formaldehyde.
  • Recall the relevant Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards.
  • Describe appropriate environmental monitoring procedures.
  • Explain how to protect yourself from the dangers of formaldehyde.

Course Outline

  • Facts about Formaldehyde
      • What is Formaldehyde?
      • Where is Formaldehyde Used?
      • What Does Formaldehyde Do?
      • Symptoms of Overexposure
      • A Carcinogen
      • Which of the following is NOT a symptom of overexposure to formaldehyde?
  • OSHA Standards
      • Relevant OSHA Standards
      • OSHA regulations for formaldehyde can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations, 29-CFR 1910.1048.
  • Questionnaire
      • Surveillance Questionnaire
  • Label Requirements and Safety Data Sheets
      • Manufacturer's Label
      • Safety Data Sheet (SDS)
      • Where can you look to find first aid measures if you or someone in the laboratory has eye or skin contact with formalin?
  • Environmental Monitoring
    • Procedure
      • Environmental Monitoring for Formaldehyde
      • How is Exposure to Formaldehyde Monitored?
    • Results
      • Permissible Limits for Formaldehyde Exposure
      • Acceptable Results
      • Unacceptable Results
      • Notification of Monitoring Results and Corrective Action, When Necessary
      • What should you expect from your employer in response to formaldehyde monitoring results that are unacceptable?
  • Warning Signs
      • Warning Signs
      • Formalin Storage
  • Engineering Controls
      • Engineering Controls
  • Work Practice Controls
      • Transporting Formalin Containers
  • Personal Protective Equipment
      • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
      • Respirators
      • Respirators (continued)
  • Contamination and Formalin Disposal
      • In Case of Contamination
      • In Case of a Spill
      • Disposal of Formaldehyde-Containing Solutions
  • References
      • References

Additional Information

Level of Instruction: Basic. 
Intended Audience: Laboratory, histology, and pathology personnel who may be exposed to formaldehyde.
Author Information: Terry Jo Gile, MT(ASCP)MA Ed has over 45 years of experience as a certified medical technologist. She has a bachelor's degree in biology from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and a master's degree in education from Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. For 20 years, she was a member of the management team at Barnes-Jewish Hospital Department of Laboratories in St. Louis, Missouri, and served as the safety officer as well as a laboratory safety consultant to the BJC Health System. Terry Jo headed her own consulting firm, Safety Lady, LLC, for 27 years. In that capacity, she lectured and consulted worldwide on the proper implementation of safety programs in clinical laboratories.
Reviewer information:
Paul S. Fekete, MD is the CEO of MediaLab, Inc. He was formerly a senior pathologist with Gwinnett Pathology Associates in metro Atlanta and an assistant professor of pathology at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. Dr. Fekete is board-certified in anatomical and clinical pathology and cytopathology.
Joshua J. Cannon, MS, MLS(ASCP)CMSHCM received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Medical Laboratory Science from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA. He holds Medical Laboratory Scientist and Specialist in Hematology certifications through the ASCP Board of Certification. He was a professor at Thomas Jefferson University for seven years before transitioning into his current role as Content Developer at MediaLab. His areas of expertise and professional passions include clinical hematology and interprofessional education.

OSHA Formaldehyde Keywords

These are the most common topics and keywords covered in OSHA Formaldehyde:

This course is part of:
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