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What Can Employers Do to Control Workplace Chemical Hazards?

If your Iowa work environment exposes you to certain types of chemical hazards, you may have some idea about how this can elevate your cancer risk and negatively impact your overall health. While workers in many different professions experience some level of risk when it comes to work-related hazards, your level of danger tends to increase if you regularly work around dust, fibers, fumes or hazardous chemicals.

Regardless of your field or industry, your employer has a duty to protect you by minimizing any risks relating to chemical exposure, and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration offers a number of tips as to how they can do so. For example, one of the most important steps your employer can do to protect you against chemical exposure involves simply substituting safer substances for dangerous ones. OSHA recommends eliminating the use of hazardous chemicals and substituting safer ones wherever possible, but when this cannot happen, OSHA recommends implementing strict engineering controls to minimize employee exposure.

Such engineering controls might include making sure all work areas have adequate ventilation through the use of fume hoods or general dilution ventilation. It may also involve enclosing certain areas where exposure risks are evident, utilizing wet methods to reduce the amount of dust in the air, or changing certain processes to minimize employee contact with potentially dangerous substances.

Employers can also do their part to minimize chemical exposure risks by making sure employees performing dangerous tasks rotate out regularly to perform other jobs. This may also include formatting worker schedules to reduce prolonged exposure to potential hazards.

This information provides a general overview of steps your employer can take to protect you, but it is not a replacement for legal guidance.