Issue Date: April 5, 2004
OSHA, EPA, trade groups form alliance on chemical hazards
An alliance of OSHA, EPA, and several chemical company trade associations was announced last week with the goal of better managing chemical reactivity hazards during manufacture. The alliance intends to provide training and educational material to make chemical producers and users more aware of the problems inherent in reactive chemicals used throughout the industry, according to OSHA. Uncontrolled chemical reactions killed 108 workers over the past 20 years, a study by the Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board concluded. The independent safety board has urged OSHA to amend its Process Safety Management Standard to require more comprehensive control of reactive chemical hazards. Although the voluntary effort falls short of that recommendation, the board applauded OSHA's effort. Also over the past few weeks, OSHA has announced several other new chemically related hazard reduction activities. These include another alliance that involves a different group of trade associations to promote safe working conditions, but this time the emphasis is on petroleum and petrochemical companies. OSHA announced an initiative in mid-March to improve communication among all users and makers of hazardous chemicals. The communication initiative makes a number of proposals, including a call for a new training program as well as guidance to improve material safety data sheets, which lay out workplace requirements for the safe use of chemicals.
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