At least 43 million workers come in contact with hazardous chemicals in the U.S. each year; many of those workers have low literacy rates, leaving them confused by complex warning labels and handling instructions. In order to protect these workers, and anyone who has to handle chemicals, the government has announced new regulations regarding the way hazardous products must be labeled.
The new regulations are designed to make chemical labels comply with international guidelines developed by the United Nations; they are intended to make printed warnings and instructions less confusing and easier to understand. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that the new labeling guidelines could prevent at least 40 deaths each year, as well as 500 on-the-job injuries and illnesses. Additionally, while manufacturers worry that the new requirements will hurt them financially, OSHA estimates suggest that the rules will actually save companies over $475 million annually in training costs and paper work.
One clear example of the immediate impact the new rules will have becomes evident when you examine current hazard information about combustible dust. In 2008, the Imperial Sugar plant in Port Wentworth, Georgia exploded, killing 14 workers. The accident, and others like it, was likely caused by the fact that workers aren't given the combustible dust safety handling information needed to prevent accidents. By giving workers the tools and information to stay safe, the new OSHA labeling requirements will help prevent countless accidents.
Workers who must come into contact with hazardous materials deserve to be given the clearest possible handling instructions in order to maintain their safety and protect the people who work with them. Hopefully, the new OSHA labeling requirements will prevent many injuries by improving workers' ability to safely handle dangerous products. If you or a loved one has been hurt by hazardous materials, you may be entitled to compensation. An industrial injury lawyer at our office can assist you through any legal matter related to a
chemical exposure claim.
Contact an industrial injury attorney from Arnold & Itkin today for a free consultation.