In the United States, chemicals are responsible for an estimated 190,000 worker illnesses and 50,000 worker deaths each year. (And these numbers are very probably an underestimate, thanks to long latency periods between chemical exposures and the onset of disease, unrecognized relationships between illnesses and chemicals, and other factors.)
Chemicals are essential in many manufacturing and construction processes and jobs, but employers don’t always have to use dangerous ones. There are safer alternatives to dangerous chemicals.
Benefit Your Bottom Line by Using Safer Chemicals
Safety isn’t the only reason to switch to safer chemicals. There are liability costs associated with hazardous chemicals, including:
- Penalties and fines
- Personal injury
- Worker compensation
- Property damage
- Clean-up costs
- Natural resources damage
And there are benefits to using safer alternatives:
- Increased sales due to improved product quality, enhanced public image, consumer trust in greener products, or other effects
- Reduced health maintenance costs due to a safer work environment
- Improved worker productivity due to cleaner working conditions
- Increased worker productivity due to improved employee relations
Resources to Help You Research Alternatives
OSHA has provided resources to help employers learn about alternatives to hazardous chemicals and implement the transition to safer chemicals. There is a step-by-step plan on the OSHA website that employers can take advantage of. The site also includes several success stories of companies who have made the transition to safer chemicals and have seen business benefits in addition to safer workplaces.
Check out the resources in the OSHA Toolkit here, and feel free to give me a call at (864) 905-7835 if you have questions about helping your company make the transition.