NIOSH has made available a draft document about Control Banding on its Web site for public review and comment. The document, entitledQualitative Risk Characterization and Management of Occupational Hazards (Control Banding [CB]): A Literature Review and Critical Analysis, describes the evolution and concepts of control banding, a qualitative approach for assessing and managing hazards associated primarily with chemical exposures in the workplace.

According to a NIOSH release, the comprehensive literature review is intended to inform employers, workers, safety and health practitioners, and other audiences about the concepts of control banding and to stimulate further dialogue about its potential usefulness in the United States by providing the appropriate background information and resources.

The conceptual basis for control banding, as NIOSH defines it, is a framework for the grouping of chemical exposures according to similar physical and chemical characteristics, intended processes/handling, and anticipated exposure scenarios (amount of chemical used and how workers would be exposed). In this context, control banding is not meant to reduce the need for OELs, but to serve as a supplemental risk management tool.