OSHA WORKS TO REDUCE WORKPLACE CHEMICAL EXPOSURES
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, is working to overhaul its approach to reducing workplace exposure to hazardous chemicals. However, instead of taking on this task on its own, the agency is asking businesses and people in the workforce for their opinions.
OSHA is now accepting comments from businesses and employees about how to reduce the number of work-related illnesses caused from exposure to hazardous chemicals. The agency wants those on the front lines to suggest ways to better streamline risk assessment and develop ways for updating permissible exposure limits, or PELs, for chemicals.
At any given workplace, there can be thousands of chemicals used, and millions of people can be exposed to them. However, OSHA only has PELs for 500 of these chemicals, 95 percent of which have not been updated since the 1970s, and admits that they are falling behind when it comes to identifying potential risks.
Updating PELs is a tedious job, as it involves recognizing and evaluating every single risk that is involved with each chemical – a process that can, in some cases, take years to complete. However, this means that many workers have been exposed to hazardous chemicals at legal, but not necessarily safe, levels.
OSHA has recognized this deficiency within its protocol and is working to address and solve the problem. The agency is working with public health experts, chemical manufacturers, employers, unions and others to streamline its PEL process – an effort that is welcomed by those involved in the issue.
Keeping the workplace safe and clean for all employees is a huge, and necessary, job – a job Tioga can assist with. Tioga offers air sampling and testing for chemicals and follows the strict rules and regulations set forth in state and federal law. The workplace should be a safe haven for all. OSHA will continue to work on improving workplace safety when it comes to hazardous chemicals, and Tioga can give employers and employees peace of mind through air quality testing.
To learn more about OSHA’s recent efforts to improve workplace safety when it comes to hazardous chemicals, click here.