In an effort to better protect workers from dangerous chemicals, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has made revision to the agency’s Hazard Communication Standard. The move aligns the regulatory document with the United Nations’ global chemical labeling system (Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals).
Once the new OSHA standard is implemented, it is estimated to prevent 43 deaths, 585 injuries and illnesses, and bring about $475.2 million in enhanced productivity for U.S. businesses each year. The Hazard Communication Standard revision will be fully implemented in 2016.
“Exposure to hazardous chemicals is one of the most serious dangers facing American workers today,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “Revising OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard will improve the quality, consistency and clarity of hazard information that workers receive, making it safer for workers to do their jobs and easier for employers to stay competitive in the global marketplace.”
In a written statement from OSHA, workers are going to be safer by reducing confusion about chemical hazards in the workplace. It will do so through the power of education workers through safety training to improve understanding of hazards, particularly for “low literacy workers.”
OSHA’s standard will classify chemicals according to their health and physical hazards, and establish consistent data sheets and safety labels for all chemicals, whether made in the United States or imported.
OSHA says there will be commercial benefits to the safety revision as well. It is expected to reduce trade barriers and result in improved productivity for American businesses that “regularly handle, store and use hazardous chemicals.” though OSHA’s statement does not detail how it
Cost savings are supposed to be in the ballpark of $32 million for American businesses that periodically update safety data sheets and…