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Safety

Database Tracks Chemical Exposures On The Job

by Glenn Hess
June 8, 2015 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 93, ISSUE 23

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has unveiled a website that displays 30 years of Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) chemical exposure readings from inspections back to 1984. The advocacy group says the database allows workplace exposure data to be searched by year, by state, by establishment type, and by substances detected. Individual inspection data may also be viewed. In addition to showing workers what substances they encountered on the job, PEER says the resource should help guide OSHA in improving safeguards for worker health. “More Americans die each year from workplace chemical exposure than from all highway accidents, yet we have no national effort to stem this silent occupational epidemic,” says PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. The group recommends that OSHA begin using its own air-sampling data to pinpoint where health inspections are most needed and increase the number of those inspections. PEER also says the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health should conduct a new survey of occupational exposures.

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