OSHA and Toxic Exposures in the Workplace
Workers in the United States are exposed to hazardous chemicals and toxins daily. These hazards, if not handled safely, can cause health problems ranging from minor irritations, allergies, and illnesses to severe neurological damage, cancer, and even death.
All employees have the right to work in a safe and healthy environment, but many jobs have inherent occupational exposures that may necessitate occupational exposure testing. Employers in many countries are required to follow the safety guidelines of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or a similar workplace safety organization to protect workers from hazardous exposures. To protect workers from toxins, hazards, and injury, such guidelines and safety protocols are enforced. Employers in some areas are also required to provide occupational toxicology or hazardous chemical exposure testing.
Worker Training – Occupational Exposure
Workers must receive training that informs them about the chemical hazards in their workplace. They must be trained before beginning to work in an area where hazardous chemicals are present, as well as before performing any work that may expose them to hazardous materials.
Employers must inform employees about the following:
- The OSHA occupational exposure standard’s content
- The location where the employee can read the chemical hygiene plan
- OSHA Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) for any hazardous substances to which the employee may be exposed
- Symptoms and warning signs of hazardous chemical exposure
- Safety Data Sheets’ location.
Through training, employees must know specific protocols and procedures for dealing with hazardous materials in an emergency. Chemicals in the workplace must be clearly identified, along with a clear chemical hygiene plan from the employer. Employees are required to know how to use and maintain their personal protective equipment and be well-versed in the methods for detecting the presence of potentially hazardous chemicals.
What You Can Do
Make sure you are aware of potential toxins in your workplace to ensure your safety and the safety of your coworkers. Look for warning labels and if you find toxins, take precautions to reduce or eliminate your exposure. If you believe you have already been exposed to a toxin, seek medical attention right away.
If you have been exposed to hazardous chemicals at work such as asbestos and have not been provided with the correct training or safety equipment, contact GPW Law to discuss your legal options today.