Hazardous Chemical Exposures in the Workplace
The American Board of Industrial Hygiene® (ABIH®) reminds workers and industry of the need to address exposure risks to hazardous chemicals.
Chemical hazards in the workplace are an ongoing concern for workers across the globe and CIHs are uniquely qualified to help protect employees, communities and the environment from exposure risks.
Earlier this month, four workers were killed at a chemical refinery in La Porte, Texas. The tragedy occurred when methyl mercaptan leaked at the plant and the workers were overcome by the release. A team from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is currently investigating the deadly incident.
While sudden deaths, like what occurred in Texas may not happen on daily basis, routine exposure to hazardous chemicals in the workplace is a major health and safety issue for millions of workers. Just last month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched a national dialogue on hazardous chemical exposures and permissible exposure limits (PELs) in the workplace.
The agency reports, “OSHA’s PELs, which are regulatory limits on the amount or concentration of a substance in the air, are intended to protect workers against the adverse health effects of exposure to hazardous substances. Ninety-five percent of OSHA’s current PELs, which cover fewer than 500 chemicals, have not been updated since their adoption in 1971. The agency’s current PELs cover only a small fraction of the tens of thousands of chemicals used in commerce, many of which are suspected of being harmful. Substantial resources are required to issue new exposure limits or update existing workplace exposure limits, as courts have required complex analyses for each proposed PEL.”
Preventing exposure to hazardous chemicals in the workplace is one of many health and safety areas that are a key focus of Certified Industrial Hygienists (CIHs). “Chemical hazards in the workplace are an ongoing concern for workers across the globe and CIHs are uniquely qualified to help protect employees, communities and the environment from exposure risks,” said Tracy Parsons, CIH®, Administrative Program Manager at the American Board of Industrial Hygiene®. “In addition to chemical hazards, workplace assessments, air sampling, risk analysis, and engineering and exposure controls are all central components of the Certified Industrial Hygienist program. These and other core competencies are critical to establishing or maintaining a safe and healthy work environment.”
To learn more about the American Board of Industrial Hygiene, Certified Industrial Hygienist® program or to locate a CIH to perform industrial hygiene services, please visit www.ABIH.org, email abih@ABIH.org or call (517) 321-2638.
About the American Board of Industrial Hygiene
Since 1960, ABIH, a not-for-profit corporation, has been the world’s largest, premier organization for certifying professionals in the practice of industrial hygiene. ABIH is responsible for ensuring high-quality certification including education, experience, examination, certification maintenance and ethics enforcement. Currently, more than 6700 people are certified to use the CIH designation.
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