OSHA launches new resources to improve workplace chemical safety

On October 24, 2013, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released two new online resources that will help reduce injuries and illness among workers exposed to hazardous chemicals.                             

The first resource is Transitioning to Safer Chemicals: A Toolkit for Employers and Workers and it allows employers to find safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals they use or plan on using in the workplace. The step-by-step program provides education, methods, applications, and advice to help make informed choices about chemicals.

"We know that the most efficient and effective way to protect workers from hazardous chemicals is by eliminating or replacing those chemicals with safer alternatives whenever possible," explained Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.

The second resource is called the Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) – Annotated Tables. This tool provides information on OSHA PELs and access to frequently revised California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, known as Cal/OSHA, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) tables to help adopt safer, newer limits in the workplace. "I advise employers, who want to ensure that their workplaces are safe, to utilize the occupational exposure limits on these annotated tables,” said Michaels.

Hazardous chemicals are used daily in workplaces throughout America. Help safeguard exposed workers by training them on hazards, preventive practices, and where to find safety information. Keep first aid supplies like emergency eye wash/showers ready on site and provide personal protective equipment like gloves, protective clothing, safety glasses or goggles, and respiratory protection.

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