To better protect workers, the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) updated its Hazard Communication Standard to align with the United Nations’ policy, according to sources. It is estimated that this new standard will save as many as 43 lives each year in the United States, along with preventing 585 injuries and saving companies $475.2 million in productivity.
“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.”
The policy will be slowly transitioned into working facilities by 2016. Businesses that regularly handle hazardous chemicals will be most affected by the new standards; hazardous chemicals will now be classified based on their health and danger levels. Employers will be required to educate and train workers in accordance with the new policy. Manufacturers and exporters alike will be required to evaluate the hazard level of all their chemicals. This is a big step in preventing worker injury and illness.
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