The OEB classification, also known as Occupational Exposure Banding, is a system for assessing the hazards of exposure to potentially hazardous substances in the workplace. OEBs are more common in the pharmaceutical industry, where they help control the risk employees face when handling active pharmaceutical ingredients.
OEBs provide a standard method for characterizing risk based on both the toxicity of a substance and the type of exposure that is most likely. This classification can then be used to determine appropriate safety measures, including protective equipment and procedures to limit exposure.
As a rule, there are five OEB levels, which are staggered as follows:
- OEB 1: Low-hazard substances
- OEB 2: Moderately hazardous substances
- OEB 3: High-hazard substances
- OEB 4: Substances with very high hazard
- OEB 5: Substances with extremely high hazards
Each level indicates what level of control is required to safely manage worker exposure.
When sampling bulk materials, the OEB of the material in question would be taken into account to ensure that the appropriate safeguards and sampling procedures are followed, especially if the bulk material contains potentially hazardous chemicals or substances.