PaintSquare.com


The First Word in Protective & Marine Coatings

A Product of Technology Publishing / PaintSquare
JPCL | PaintSquare News | Durability + Design | Paint BidTracker

Free Download of

Paint and Coatings Industry News

Main News Page


OSHA Urges Self-Regulation on Chemicals

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

More items for Health & Safety

Comment | More

Admitting that its own standards are inadequate, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is urging employers to take their own steps to protect workers from deadly exposure to hazardous chemicals.

To that end, OSHA unveiled two new web resources Thursday (Oct. 24) to help companies voluntarily identify safer chemicals and adopt more protective exposure limits for hazardous chemicals.

Workers suffer more than 190,000 illnesses and 50,000 deaths annually related to chemical exposures, according to OSHA.

And yet, "complying with OSHA's antiquated [Permissible Exposure Limits] will not guarantee that workers will be safe," Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, said in a press release.

'Out of Date'

The agency says its exposure standards are "out of date" and "inadequately protective" for the small number of chemicals that are regulated in the workplace.

chemical hazards
© iStock / endopack

Calling its own standards obsolete, OSHA released new resources to help companies protect workers from hazardous chemicals by substituting safer chemicals and reducing exposure limits.

The Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013 (CSIA – S.1009), now before Congress, would provide the first comprehensive update to the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), but OSHA is not waiting for action.

The bill has support from both environmentalists and the business community, including paint and coating manufacturers, but similar bills have failed in the past, and implementation could be years away.

OSHA's two new resources—one that identifies safer substitutions for hazardous chemicals and one that illustrates more protective Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs)—are designed to help employers take action to protect their workers now.

"There is no question that many of OSHA's chemical standards are not adequately protective," said Michaels.

Safer Chemical Choices

OSHA's first new resource is a toolkit to help employers identify safer substitutions for hazardous chemicals they use. "Transitioning to Safer Chemicals" walks employers and workers through information, methods, tools and guidance to either eliminate hazardous chemicals or make an informed substitution decision. Workers can also use the toolkit to better understand chemical use and find opportunities to use safer chemicals.

"We know that the most efficient and effective way to protect workers from hazardous chemicals is by eliminating or replacing those chemicals with safer alternatives whenever possible," Michaels said.

Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, introduced new web resources to help employers voluntarily reduce worker exposure to hazardous chemicals.

The toolkit provides a seven-step plan for substituting chemicals:

  • Form a team to develop a plan;
  • Examine current chemical use;
  • Identify alternatives;
  • Assess and compare alternatives;
  • Select a safer alternative;
  • Pilot the alternative; and
  • Implement and evaluate the alternative.

Transitioning to safer chemicals can also save companies money, OSHA says.

Recent years have seen new international, federal and state regulations that require manufacturers, importers and distributors to disclose more information about chemicals throughout the supply chain, avoid certain chemicals, and implement safer chemicals where feasible.

Additional laws and regulations are on the horizon, OSHA says. The cost of not complying with existing laws or preparing for future ones can be substantial.

Side-by-Side PEL Comparisons

The second new resource, the "Permissible Exposure Limits—Annotated Tables," provides a side-by-side comparison of OSHA's PELs for general industry to PELs from the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), recommended exposure limits by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and threshold limit values from the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists.

The tables list air concentration limits, but do not include notations for skin absorption or sensitization.

Annotated OSHA Z-2 Table
Annotated OSHA Z-2 Table

OSHA's new tables show the difference between the decades-old federal Permissible Exposure Limits for the solvents toluene and trichloroethylene and more current limits by other agencies. OSHA hopes that enlightening employers to current limits will encourage them to reduce exposures voluntarily.

"I advise employers, who want to ensure that their workplaces are safe, to utilize the occupational exposure limits on these annotated tables, since simply complying with OSHA's antiquated PELs will not guarantee that workers will be safe," said Michaels.

OSHA notes that many of its PELs were issued shortly after the adoption of the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970 and have not been updated.

PEL comparison tables will allow employers to voluntarily adopt newer, more protective workplace exposure limits, OSHA says.

Meanwhile, OSHA will continue to enforce its own mandatory PELs.

   

Tagged categories: Accidents; Construction chemicals; Fatalities; hazardous materials; Health and safety; Industrial Hygienists; NIOSH; OSHA; Workers

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Bullard

The Next Generation
of Blasting

• Lightest
• Coolest
• Most Comfortable
• Most Dependable


Clemco Industries Corp.
Powerful Protection in a Small Package

Mounts inside blast helmet, alerts operator to dangerous breathing-air condition by audible, visual, and vibratory alarms. Easily calibrated, battery operated.


CS Unitec
Surface Prep Tools for Hazardous Conditions

CS Unitec's Trelawny™
line of surface prep tools
is safe and efficient for
use in marine & protective coatings applications including Ex Zones & Hot Work Zones.


Graco Inc.
Learn more and sign-up for a Free Demo

The XForce HD Cordless Airless Sprayer is designed for spot repair, small jobs and touch-up. Easily sprays the toughest protective and marine coatings.


Blastox/The TDJ Group, Inc.
Blastox - One Step
Lead Abatement

Don't waste $$ on added labor steps with other methods. Don't mix, meter or apply at the job-site. Avoid strict hazardous waste rules.
Let your painters paint!


Safety Lamp of Houston, Inc.
Wet & hazardous area lighting solutions from SAFETY LAMP of Houston

New WOLF LED and fluorescent lights are now available, including low voltage tank lighting kits.
Call: (281) 964-1019.


US Minerals
US Minerals -
Black Magnum

With nationwide production and distribution capabilities, U.S. Minerals supplies a complete range of coal slag and other abrasives to meet all of your blasting needs.

 
 
 
Technology Publishing

The Technology Publishing Network

The Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings (JPCL) PaintSquare
Durability + Design Paint BidTracker JPCL Europe

 
EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About PaintSquare.com   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us
 

© Copyright 2000-2014, Technology Publishing / PaintSquare, All rights reserved
2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951; Tel 1-412-431-8300; Fax 1-412-431-5428; E-mail webmaster@paintsquare.com