As new technologies and substances continue to be developed and exposed to the public, their efficiency is unquestioned; however, how safe they are when exposed to people and the environment are in question.
The chemical industry is not as well monitored as other industries, such as the construction industry. Additionally, the opinions of governing bodies differ from those of the workers themselves. Governing bodies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Toxic Substances Control Act, have been pushing to use chemicals more freely and have been questioning what their employees have told them about the effects of the chemicals.
Here, our experts at MC Tool & Safety will discuss some of the myths surrounding safety data sheets and personal protective equipment and the supposed safety they guarantee.
Safety Data Sheets Provide the Ultimate Protection
Though OSHA requires individual companies to provide safety data sheets that detail specific risks involved with some materials and workplaces, they do not have to implement all of the information on the sheets themselves. This means that although the sheets provide certain key pieces of safety information, it is up to the company itself to determine whether the information on those sheets is mandatory. This creates obvious dangers in any professional workspace and increases the risk that workers could be injured or get ill on the job.
Personal Protection Equipment Protects Workers from Every Risk
Like safety data sheets, it is a widely accepted belief that if your workers are wearing the proper safety equipment, they are not at risk of being injured or getting sick. While most safety equipment will protect you from physical harm, there is still a lot of work to do when it comes to the harmful effects of chemicals. There is a variety of respiratory equipment available to help in chemical environments, but not all chemicals are monitored, which creates confusion as to what pieces of equipment are better in different situations. Though OSHA regulates all workplaces, the health factor they rely on is primarily physical health, as opposed to specific illnesses. The majority of violations reported by OSHA are in regard to safety equipment violations, such as lack of protective eyewear and gloves.
So What Does This All Mean?
Though there are a plethora of rules and regulations surrounding workplace safety, not everything is covered, especially in the chemical industry. OSHA has a list of hundreds of chemicals that are part of their Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL). This ruling determines that safety equipment is mandatory when there is a potential for workers to be exposed to these chemicals. However, the majority of the chemicals in this list were added in 1970, and there are hundreds of thousands of chemicals that are not included on this list. This means that though there are specific regulations for many chemicals, there are many that have unknown risks, which are not covered by OSHA.
These facts, which are detailed in the publications stemming from multiple hearings in recent years, truly debunk the myth that safety data sheets and personal protective equipment are the end-all, be-all when it comes to safety in the workplace, especially chemical safety. With our help at MC Tool & Safety, we can offer our expert advice when it comes to safety in the workplace, which will hopefully keep you key insight.
Contact MC Tool & Safety Today
If you are in the Twin Cities area and looking for elite customer service and a wide array of industrial and safety products, contact MC Tool & Safety today. Our team can help you find the solution to any questions you may have. Additionally, our team will provide you with state-of-the-art equipment to ensure you and your employees are safe and efficient at all times. To learn more about our services or to speak with an expert, give us a call at 888-206-2569 or message us on our contact page today.