Environmental Health & Safety

OSHA Launches Tools Aimed at Hazardous Chemicals

By Chemical Processing Staff

Oct 24, 2013

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration today released two web-based resources to help limit worker exposure to hazardous chemicals. The first is a toolkit that aims to spur replacement of hazardous chemicals with safer alternatives. “The toolkit walks employers and employees step-by-step through information, methods, tools and guidance to either eliminate hazardous chemicals or make informed substitution decisions in the workplace by finding a safer chemical, material, product or process,” says OSHA.

The second resource consists of annotated permissible exposure limits (PELs). These PELs don’t replace OSHA’s own ones that set mandatory limits on the concentration of a substance in air. Those PELs are antiquated and do not guarantee that workers will be safe, admits OSHA. The resource compares OSHA PELs with more up-to-date values given by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists. Using the tighter limits will help employers ensure worker safety.

The web-based resources are informational and will not change enforcement policies, notes David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.

Get more information on the new OSHA resources.