The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced the launch of a nationwide dialogue to discuss the prevention of hazardous chemical exposures in the workplace. OSHA is inviting stakeholders to contribute their ideas for hazard management practices with the ultimate goal of setting new official standards for permissible exposure limits. By OSHA's own admission, 95 percent of these limits have not been updated since their adoption in 1971, and they currently cover fewer than 500 chemicals.
"Many of our chemical exposure standards are dangerously out of date and do not adequately protect workers," said David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, in a statement. "While we will continue to work on updating our workplace exposure limits, we are asking public health experts, chemical manufacturers, employers, unions and others committed to preventing workplace illnesses to help us identify new approaches to address chemical hazards."
In a separate initiative, OSHA is collaborating with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to hold a workshop on preventing accidents among communications tower workers. So far this year, 11 workers have died while working atop cell towers, nearing last year's total of 13. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will take part in the Washington, D.C., event, which will also serve as the launch of the Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program.
The aim of both these initiatives is to ensure that workers are trained to identify and prevent hazardous situations and that employers are adopting best safety practices. A safety management services provider can carry out training courses and inspections to verify that companies in relevant industries adhere to OSHA regulations.