OSHA offers public two new resources to protect workers from hazardous chemicals

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) released two new web resources in October to help protect workers from hazardous chemicals in the workplace.

Resource One  The first resource will help employers identify safer chemicals that can be used in place of more hazardous chemicals. The online toolkit, Transitioning to Safer Chemicals, will take users through a step-by-step process of information, methods, tools and guidance to help employers and workers identify substitute materials in the workplace.

Establishing a chemical management system that goes beyond simply complying with OSHA standards and strives to reduce or eliminate chemical hazards at the source through informed substitution best protects workers, says OSHA. Transitioning to safer alternatives can be a complex undertaking, but a variety of existing resources make it easier.

Resource Two  The second web resource developed by OSHA allows employers to voluntarily adopt more protective workplace exposure limits. This resource is the Annotated Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs), updates OSHA’s mandatory PELs to limits that should better protect workers’ health.

The majority of these PELs were adopted over 40 years ago and are outdated. OSHA admits this. But: mandatory PELs will continue to be enforced. So here we are.

The new tables will compare OSHA PELs with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health PELs, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommended exposure limits, and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienist threshold limit values.
Kathleen Hurleychemicals, osha, safer