The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the release of 15 years of data providing details of workplace exposure to toxic chemicals.
The data is comprised of measurements taken by OSHA compliance officers during the course of inspections, and includes exposure levels to hazardous chemicals including asbestos, benzene, beryllium, cadmium, lead, nickel, silica, and others.
The data offer insights into the levels of toxic chemicals commonly found in workplaces, as well as insights into how chemical exposure levels to specific chemicals are distributed across industries, geographical areas, and time, OSHA said.
“We believe this information, in the hands of informed, key stakeholders, will ultimately lead to a more robust and focused debate on what still needs to be done to protect workers in all sectors, especially in the chemical industry,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels.
With an understanding of these data and their limitations, it can be combined with other related data to target further research into occupational hazards and illness, OSHA said. In addition to the raw data, OSHA said it will soon make available an online search tool allowing public access to the information.
More information: http://www.osha.gov/opengov/healthsamples.html.
Agency issues directive on non-English training
OSHA also issued an enforcement memorandum directed at protecting Latino and other non-English speaking workers from workplace hazards. It directs compliance officers to ensure they check and verify that workers are receiving OSHA-required training in a language they understand.
“This directive conforms with Secretary Solis’ clear and urgent goal of reducing injuries and illnesses among Latino and other vulnerable workers,” Michaels said. “These workers represent an integral and essential part of the key industries that keep our country running every day.”
OSHA requires that employers provide training to their workers on certain job hazards and safe methods for performing work. Investigators will now check and verify that training was provided in a language and vocabulary that the workers understand.