Yesterday, we outlined the steps in the process of transitioning to safer chemicals. Today, we review reasons why using safer chemicals whenever possible is a good idea.
American workers use tens of thousands of chemicals every day. While many of these chemicals are suspected of being harmful, only a small number are regulated in the workplace.
As a result, says OSHA, workers suffer more than 190,000 illnesses and 50,000 deaths annually related to chemical exposures. Workplace chemical exposures have been linked to cancers, and other lung, kidney, skin, heart, stomach, brain, nerve, and reproductive diseases.
OSHA says that establishing a chemical management system that goes beyond simply complying with its standards and strives to reduce or eliminate chemical hazards at the source through informed substitution provides the best protection to workers who may be exposed to chemical risks.
OSHA admits that transitioning to safer alternatives can be a complex undertaking. That’s why it has developed the step-by-step toolkit to provide employers and workers with information, methods, tools, and guidance on using informed substitution in the workplace (see yesterday’s Advisor).
OSHA says that by using the safer chemicals toolkit, businesses can improve worker well-being through eliminating or reducing hazardous chemicals while creating other benefits, including:
- Cost savings—Reduce expenses and future risks.
- Efficiency—Improve performance
- Industry leadership—Invest in innovation to stay competitive
- Corporate stewardship—Advance socially responsible practices.
The toolkit can be used by all types of businesses—it is for manufacturers using chemicals in their production processes as well as for businesses that use products containing chemicals in their everyday operations.
For example, service-oriented workplaces (such as janitorial companies, auto body repair shops, and pathology labs) and construction work sites often use products containing chemicals that could present hazards to workers.
Workers also can use this toolkit to better understand chemical use in their workplace, find opportunities for using safer chemicals, and engage with their employers throughout the process of identifying, evaluating, and transitioning to safer alternatives.
Stay on Top of Developments
Keeping up with the latest information about workplace safety and health—like the safer chemicals toolkit, for example—is no easy task. But we’ve made it easier for you. Now you’ll be able to stay on top of all the latest developments every day with Safety.BLR.com.
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What’s more, this one-stop safety website is a fantastic resource for safety training materials on just about any topic you can imagine.
Training responsibilities become a snap with the website’s thousands of audio presentations, PowerPoints, prewritten safety meetings, toolbox talks, trainer’s guides, and much, much more. You’ll find training tools on more than 120 safety topics along with plain-English compliance analysis and other resources.
At a time when budget considerations are paramount, what makes more sense than an all-in-one safety training and compliance solution?
And BLR has revamped Safety.BLR.com to meet your needs even better. You’ll be amazed by all the features and functionality of the site. Highlights include:
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We’re pretty excited about Safety.BLR.com and all of its enhancements, and we’re eager for you to experience it, too. That’s why we’ve created a complimentary site tour, available here. It takes just 5 minutes.
If you like what you see, you’re invited to try the site at no cost and with no obligation. We’ll even give you a complimentary special report for doing so. Go here to take a 5-minute tour of Safety.BLR.com. It may be just what you’re looking for.