As an employer in New York, it is your responsibility to provide a safe workplace for your employees. You provide them with workers’ compensation coverage in the event they are injured, but it is the prevention of such injures that should be your main focus. This is especially true when it comes to toxic substances. Luckily, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has some clear guidelines for things you should do to limit toxic exposure.
OSHA has a pyramid of safety relating to toxic substances. Each layer of the pyramid adds more protection against exposure and illness. At the base of the pyramid is providing protective gear for your employees. This might include googles or gloves to protect from direct exposure, along with respiration gear to protect against air borne dangers. Next, on the pyramid is making administrative changes. Such changes may involve rotating employee positions so they are not working with the same substances every day, which helps to reduce exposure.
Next, is making changes to the physical set up or function of your workplace. This could include making actual changes to the lay out or making changes to the processes used. It may also include adding in extra protection, such as venting systems. Finally, at the top of the pyramid, would be making changes to the actual substances you use. If you can substitute different, safer substances without causing detrimental effects to your product, then it is highly recommended that you do so. This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.