Mercury in Fluorescent Bulbs Draws OSHA's Attention

Published August 8, 2012

Two new educational resources from OSHA will help protect workers from mercury exposure during the crushing and recycling of fluorescent light bulbs, according to a July 31 agency press release. A new OSHA fact sheet explains the health effects of mercury exposure and how workers could be exposed to mercury in the workplace. The fact sheet also lists ways to reduce mercury exposure in the workplace, as well as the exposure limits for mercury from OSHA, NIOSH and ACGIH. An accompanying OSHA Quick Card—available in both English and Spanish—provides employers and workers with more concise information on the dangers of mercury exposure and how to safely clean up and dispose of broken fluorescent bulbs to minimize employees’ exposure to mercury.

According to OSHA, the shift from incandescent bulbs to more energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs—which contain mercury—requires more attention to ensure that workers who handle, dispose of and recycle fluorescent bulbs are protected from potential mercury exposure. 

The fact sheet and Quick Card are both available as PDFs on OSHA’s website.