Occupational Health Professionals Urge Chemical Manufacturers to Protect the Health of their Workers
AIHA announces free educational guide and resources for chemical manufacturing industry
An estimated 32 million employees in chemical manufacturing facilities are potentially exposed to one or more of the 650,000 chemical hazards, according to the US Department of Labor.1 To reduce health risks, AIHA, an association for occupational health and safety science professionals, announced the availability of free resources to educate chemical manufacturers about the health risks associated with exposure to chemicals. Occupational health professionals (industrial hygienists) work to reduce health risks to workers and organizations, ultimately increasing productivity and improving a company’s bottom line.
Chemical manufacturers who want to protect the health of their workers, who are seeking resources can find help at a new website, https://www.workerhealthsafety.org/chemical-manufacturing. The site includes information about the risks to workers and how employers can reduce those risks. Chemical manufacturers can also be connected with an OHS professional.
“The exposure risks to chemical manufacturing employees are unique. Chemical formulas change frequently, as do the risks and controls applied in the manufacturing of those chemicals,” said Nancy McClellan, MPH, CIH, CHMM from Occupational Health Management, PLLC consultancy and Chair of the University of Michigan School of Public Health External Advisory Board. With the trend of high hazard manufacturing returning to the US, there is an even greater need to develop stronger health and safety risk assessment and control strategies for effective IH program management.”
Chemical exposure may cause or contribute to many serious organ health effects impacting the cardiovascular system, central nervous system, kidneys and lungs, as well as sterility, cancer, burns, and rashes. Some chemicals may also be safety hazards and have the potential to cause fires and explosions and other serious accidents.
“Your employees are your most valuable resource and occupational health and safety professionals play a critical role in assessing risk and keeping them safe,” said Lindsay Cook, CIH, CSP, President of the AIHA Board of Directors. “They identify potential risks – not just the ones that are obvious today, but the ones that can have long-term effects, some of which take 20 years to surface.”
1) Chemical Hazard Communication U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 1998