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Staying safe around chemicals

Certain occupations in New York involve working with and around chemicals, and mismanagement of them can lead to workers' compensation claims. There are a number of regulations that companies must follow in order to keep employees safe in the short and long term. 

One way in which the government assists in regulating chemicals and their use is the Toxic Substances Control Act. According to the CDC, this act was originally passed in 1976 and was amended in 2016. It authorizes the EPA to monitor and regulate substances that are dangerous and toxic to the health of workers. Some of the EPA's tasks are to evaluate current and new chemicals, assess their risk and make preparations to eliminate unnecessary risks.

While having the government involved is helpful, the best way to improve chemical safety is to install procedures and standards in the workplace. As the Health and Safety Authority states, managing toxic chemicals not only improves health and safety, but it also helps keep costs low. Employers play a big part in keeping the work environment safe. They are required to provide training and information about all chemicals to their employees. Employers are also required to:

  • Establish which substances are hazardous
  • Prevent exposure to these chemicals as practical as possible
  • Offer health inspections to employees
  • Have a plan to deal with accidents and emergencies involving hazardous substances

Employees also play a role in chemical safety. They need to follow the standards and procedures that the employer has set, and they should take advantage of the control measures currently in place. They should also immediately report any accident and inform their supervisor about any deficiency in equipment or work area.

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