Industrial chemicals are used in almost every industry nationwide, including in Missouri. An investigation into the limits of exposure to chemical hazards that are set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has determined that it falls short of protecting workers from suffering occupational disease. The Center for Public Integrity says the Environmental Protection Agency’s limits are significantly higher than the limits set by OSHA.
A matter of concern is that OSHA’s evaluations of hazardous chemicals cover no more than 470 chemicals, while the estimated number of dangerous chemicals in workplaces is 84,000. It apparently admitted that the restrictions effective on the 470 chemicals are insufficient and outdated. The federal agency says occupational diseases can be linked to 50,000 deaths and 190,000 illnesses annually.
OSHA contends that it is extremely difficult to bring about the necessary changes. It asserts that the budget office at the White House rarely allows the complicated processes of rule changes to proceed. Various entities claim that proposed rules can cripple industries financially. An example is claimed to be the new rules related to silica exposure that affect millions of workers but apparently threaten the feasibility of foundries nationwide.
While all this is going on, workers remain at considerable risk. An occupational disease can have a devastating effect on a worker, and his or her family. Such diseases often only present years after exposure to hazardous chemicals, and proving that it is work-related may be difficult. Fortunately, experienced workers’ compensation attorneys in Missouri commonly have the resources to investigate the origin of such diseases and assist affected employees in obtaining fair compensation through the workers’ compensation insurance fund.
Source: manufacturing.net, “Report: OSHA Not Doing Enough To Protect Workers From Chemical Hazards”, Andy Szal, July 1, 2015