Exceeding the PEL

I work for a general contractor. The main part of my job is to maintain his safety grading on a third party website for safety review and verification. One of our clients requires monthly safety meetings. Another client requires documentation that we have covered specific safety issues with our workers. So I spend my time making sure the boss is in compliance with his clients through this third party safety network. Fun times.

As we go through these safety meetings, discussing how many parts per million (ppm) of certain chemicals are allowed within a given work environment before safety measures have to be taken, it is always interesting to learn the levels of safety. If the chemical is within the permissable exposure limit (PEL) then little or no safety gear or personal protective equipment (PPE) is required. If it slightly exceeds the PEL, then perhaps a small face mask is required. Greater amounts lead to a mask with a respirator and of course the most dangerous levels require you to look like something from a B movie with all of the required safety gear.

It made me wonder about our marriages and our kids. Do we realize that there are certain things that if we are exposed to greater amounts of them; they could potentially put our marriage or our relationship with our children in jeopardy? How many parts per million is allowed before we realize: hey, I need some kind of protection here or I’m going to lose my family!

How many long, lingering looks at that flashy coworker before you need to put on an eye patch to block your vision? How many times will your brush off your kids and stay on your computer or smart phone before you realize you need to shut it down and spend time with them?

Here’s a challenge: sit down with your spouse and you children and determine what is your family PEL and then make sure you have safety measures to make sure it is never exceeded.

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