I've got an OBJECTION!

Hazard Communication Standard of 1986

Posted by on Sep 15, 2015 in Employment Law, Health | 0 comments

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that there are at least 13 million workers in the US whose jobs cause them to be exposed regularly to hazardous chemicals, like Acetone, Acetonitrile, Ammonia, Asbestos, Benzene, Chloroform, Dichloromethane, Ethyl Acetate, Formaldehyde, Hexane, Lead, Methanol, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate, Titanium Dioxide, and so forth.

Any kind of hazardous agent can cause occupational disorders and diseases, including systemic toxicity, or systemic effects, and occupational skin diseases (OSD), which are actually the second most common types of work-related diseases. While systemic toxicity damages internal organs once the fumes of toxic substances are inhaled, the development of occupational skin diseases occurs when the skin comes in contact with hazardous chemicals. There are several different forms of occupational skin diseases, including irritant and allergic contact dermatitis, skin infections, and skin cancers.

Some of the most common types of workers, who are often exposed to potentially harmful substances, include those in the following industries: construction, agriculture, mechanics, printing/lithography, painting, cleaning, cosmetology, health care and food service.

Employers all the across the US have the responsibility of assuring their employees of a safe and healthy working environment. This responsibility, which is mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) which the United States Congress passed into law in 1970, is enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) which, in turn, was created by OSH Act in 1971. Part of OSHA’s endeavor in maintaining health and safety in all workplaces, but more so in sites where workers are exposed to chemical hazards, it enacted the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), which took effect in 1986.

The HCS, also called the Worker Right-to-Know Legislation or the Right-to-Know law, gives workers the right to know everything about the chemical hazards they are exposed to and how they can protect themselves from these. To fulfill these, employers are mandated to train their workers on the proper handling and storing of chemical substances, and to provide their workers with the gears that will protect them from any form of harm. Importers and manufacturers are also required to attach warning labels and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) on all of their hazardous products; other than the words ‘poisonous,’ and ‘hazardous,’ product labels must also include information on the product’s potential health effects, emergency first aid instructions, precautions for use, safe storage suggestions, and contact numbers where further information about the products may be obtained.

Many kinds of diseases and disorders caused by toxic substances take time before they manifest their symptoms and, when these do, the illness is usually already in a stage that would require more costly treatment. According to the website of the Williams Kherkher Law Firm, the long-term effects of toxic substance exposure can be seen as a catastrophic injury. It requires much long recovery times, besides the expensive treatments and medication, which are still worsened by the victim’s inability to work as energetically as he/she did prior to the development of the illness.

Quality life and, maybe, a longer lifetime too have been snatched away from millions of workers in the past due to injuries resulting from toxic substances exposure in the workplace. Many of these injuries and early deaths could easily have been prevented, had it not been for some people’s acts of negligence or greed, which made them choose profit over workers’ lives. Some illnesses may never find recovery and deaths will surely never be reversed; however, this does not mean that the victims or their families will no longer be able to seek justice through compensation for all their great losses.

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