Workers throughout the country now have a better way to stay protected from hazardous chemicals on the job and to help to minimize their risks for a chemical-related work accident in Asheville and elsewhere. Recently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that it had revised its Hazard Communication Standard. Now, the standard aligns with the global chemical labeling system from the United Nations. Officials believe that this new standard will be able to save the lives of nearly 45 workers every year. In addition, the standard should help to produce more than $475 million in enhanced productivity for U.S. companies every year. It’s a win-win for everyone.
“Exposure to hazardous chemicals is one of the most serious dangers facing American workers,” said Hilda L. Solis, Secretary of Labor.
Our North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers understand that these new revisions have the potential to help to improve the consistency, the quality and the clarity of hazard information for employees working with these dangerous materials. The most important part of working with hazardous chemicals is staying informed about the dangers of these materials and knowing how to reduce the risks of injuries and illnesses. Now, employees who work with the dangerous chemicals will be safer and will have an easier time staying competitive in the global marketplace.
The newly revised Hazard Communication Standard will take effect later in 2016. Officials with OSHA believe that this new version of the standard will help to eliminate the confusion regarding dangerous chemicals in the workplace, will help to improve the understanding of such dangers, and will help to facilitate safety training programs. The main focus of these programs will also be targeting low literacy workers.
Now chemicals will be classified based on their physical and health hazards. They will be classified in a way that is consistent with the labels and data sheets for chemicals that are handled in the country as well as ones that are imported from around the world.
In addition to the lives that the new revision is expected to save, officials are estimating that nearly 600 injuries and illnesses can be prevented every year. With the new revisions, officials say, trade barriers will be reduced and American companies will be able to have a cost savings of more than $32 million. This cost savings should come from less need to update labels and data sheets. The new standards come with a more efficient labeling system.
Dr. David Michaels with the Occupational Safety and Health says that the old standard only gave employees the right to know about such dangers and risks associated with such chemicals. The new standard is working to help them to understand these dangers. Clearly, understanding is much more beneficial than just knowing. Understanding is one of the keys in keeping workplaces safe!
Our Asheville injury lawyers here at Lee & Smith serve clients in workers’ compensation cases in both North and South Carolina. To schedule a free and confidential consultation to discuss your workers’ compensation case, call us at 1-800-887-1965.
More Blog Entries:
Work Accidents in North Carolina and Elsewhere Results from Laxidasical Leadership, North Carolina Workers Compensation Lawyers Blog, March 29, 2012
Workplace Safety in North Carolina Enhanced, Thanks to Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, North Carolina Workers Compensation Lawyers Blog, March 28, 2012