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New mandates from OSHA may reduce work-related injuries

Recently the Occupational Safety and Health Administration revised their requirements regarding how chemical agents are to be handled in the workplace. The motivation behind the revisions is to reduce the incidences of work-related injuries concerning these agents. The new mandates will affect any company or business which employs the use of these materials in every state, including North Carolina.

The agency indicated that millions of workers are exposed to possibly hazardous chemicals throughout the nation. The new requirements regarding the proper use and storage of all chemical materials may reduce the number of accidents and work-related illnesses and deaths by around 500 each year. They will enable American companies to be in compliance with the Globally Harmonized System of Labeling and Classification of chemicals that is the accepted standard everywhere.

The new standards, referred to as HazCom 2012, will require that supervisors, managers and workers be trained in the new methods of handling and labeling chemicals. No matter what type of business, if chemicals are involved, then the new standards must be implemented or the company could be fined by OSHA. One university system has recently scheduled workshop training relating to the new requirements for supervisors and employees who may be interested

There are reportedly 18 different organizations that were awarded grants to help with the training and implementation of the new safety data sheets that are now required. While it is not known if any North Carolina groups are included in the 18, businesses here will still be required to comply with the mandates. In spite of every safety protocol being adhered to, however, there will still be incidences of work-related injuries. Most employees who are injured or become ill on-the-job have the right to collect benefits under the workers' compensation insurance program. There are resources available that can provide assistance to those who may encounter obstacles or have questions concerning the filing of such claims.

Source: psu.edu, "PennTAP training works to prevent chemical injuries in the workplace", , May 27, 2014

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