NE Program Focuses on Chemical Safety

Monday, November 17, 2014 @ 11:11 AM gHale

Handling hazardous chemicals is a highly dangerous for folks working on the plant floor and that is why a new safety program is starting up in Nebraska, federal officials said.

To educate employers and workers about highly hazardous chemicals, including formaldehyde and methylene chloride, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is launching a local emphasis program in Nebraska.

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The program will include programmed health inspections at funeral homes, chemical and product manufacturing plants, printing facilities and outpatient care centers.

“This local emphasis program will allow OSHA to use its resources efficiently by focusing on industries that are known to use these types of highly hazardous chemicals,” said Bonita Winingham, area director for OSHA in Omaha, NE. “Through this program, OSHA will improve education for company management and strengthen worker protections.”

Due to the increased health risks related to some chemicals, OSHA created chemical-specific regulations known as expanded health standards. These regulations include exposure limits and monitoring requirements.

Industry sectors ended up selected for inspection based on recorded violations of these expanded health standards and the frequency of inspection in 2013.

Local emphasis programs are enforcement strategies designed and implemented at the regional and/or area office levels.

The goal of these programs is to address hazards in industries that pose a risk to workers in the office’s jurisdiction. Often, these local emphasis programs end up accompanied by outreach intended to make area employers aware of the program and the hazards the programs should reduce or eliminate.

In addition, OSHA has created a toolkit to identify safer chemicals that can end up used in lieu of hazardous ones.

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