KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is launching a local emphasis program in Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri for programmed health inspections of industries known to use hazardous chemicals and who have reported release of such chemicals to the Environmental Protection Agency. The goal is to reduce occupational illnesses and deaths,
'This local emphasis program will make efficient use of OSHA's industrial hygiene resources by focusing on industrial sites that are known to have released EPA-monitored hazardous chemicals,' said Marcia Drumm, acting regional administrator for OSHA in Kansas City. 'Through this program, OSHA will improve education for company management and strengthen protections for workers exposed to these chemicals.'
Chemicals reported to the EPA that have been released into the environment include ammonia; barium, chromium and copper compounds; hydrochloric acid; hydrogen fluoride; lead and manganese compounds; N-hexane; styrene; sulfuric acid; and nitrate, vanadium and zinc compounds.
Industries will be selected for inspection based on site-specific chemical release data from the EPA's TRI Explorer database, which lists industry establishments that have released chemical quantities equal to or exceeding 100,000 pounds.
OSHA has created a toolkit to identify safer chemicals that can be used in place of more hazardous ones. The toolkit is available at http://www.osha.gov/dsg/safer_chemicals/index.html.
Local emphasis programs are enforcement strategies designed and implemented at the regional and/or area office levels. These programs are intended to address hazards in industries that pose a particular risk to workers in the office's jurisdiction. Often times, these local emphasis programs are accompanied by outreach intended to make employers in the area aware of the program, as well as the hazards that the programs are designed to reduce or eliminate.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.