The Hazard Communication Standard

Jul 08

Any kind of hazardous agent can cause occupational disorders and diseases, including systemic toxicity, or systemic effects, and occupational skin diseases (OSD), which are actually the second most common types of work-related diseases. While systemic toxicity damages internal organs once the fumes of toxic substances are inhaled, the development of occupational skin diseases occurs when the skin comes in contact with hazardous chemicals. There are several different forms of occupational skin diseases, including irritant and allergic contact dermatitis, skin infections, and skin cancers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that there are at least 13 million workers in the U.S. whose jobs regularly exposed them to hazardous chemicals, like Acetone, Acetonitrile, Ammonia, Asbestos, Benzene, Chloroform, Dichloromethane, Ethyl Acetate, Formaldehyde, Hexane, Lead, Methanol, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate, and Titanium Dioxide.

Employers all the across the US have the responsibility of assuring their employees of a safe and healthy working environment. This responsibility, which is mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) which the United States Congress passed into law in 1970, is enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) which, in turn, was created by OSH Act in 1971. Part of OSHA’s endeavor in maintaining health and safety in all workplaces, but more so in sites where workers are exposed to chemical hazards, it enacted the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), which took effect in 1986.

The HCS, also called the Worker Right-to-Know Legislation or the Right-to-Know law, gives workers the right to know everything about the chemical hazards they are exposed to and how they can protect themselves from these. To fulfill these, employers are mandated to train their workers on the proper handling and storing of chemical substances, and provide their workers with the necessary gears which will protect them from any form of harm.

Workers who are often exposed to potentially harmful substances, include those in the following industries: construction, agriculture, mechanics, printing/lithography, painting, cleaning, cosmetology, health care and food service.

According to The Benton law firm, companies should have proper safety features in place to protect workers against workplace accidents and injuries. Failure to ensure the presence of these safety pictures makes employers totally liable for whatever injuries their employees may sustain.

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