C. Christopher Patton, president of the ASSE, recently sent a letter to new OSHA chief David Michaels to support the organization's goal of implementing changes to the agency's existing Hazard Communications Standard, which he said will harmonize chemical hazard communications worldwide and increase workplace safety.
Control banding needed.
Patton applauded OSHA for undertaking the HCS rulemaking and urged every possible step be taken to achieve a final regulation as soon as practical. However, he noted that the ASSE is disappointed to see that control banding has been largely ignored in revising the standard.
Control banding is a technique used to guide the assessment and management of workplace risks. Patton said it is a generic technique that determines a control measure -- such as dilution ventilation, engineering controls, containment -- based on a range or "band" of hazards and exposures, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.In 2005, the ASSE published a position paper that urged OSHA and the Mine Safety and Health Administration to consider the use of control banding models in a revised HCS.
Patton said that control banding uses the solutions that experts have developed previously to control occupational chemical exposures and is an approach that focuses resources on exposure controls and describes how strictly a risk needs to be managed.
"When this nation is so close to harmonization with GHS, it would be unfortunately shortsighted not to take the extra step of incorporating control banding since many of the necessary tools to do so are already included in this rulemaking," Patton wrote.
Informal hearings scheduled. OSHA plans to hold three informal public hearings to accept comments and testimony on the proposed changes to the HCS. The first hearing is scheduled for March 2 in the auditorium of the Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. 20210. Additional hearings are scheduled for March 31 in Pittsburgh and April 13 in Los Angeles.
Read more at the WORKERSCOMP ForumTM homepage.
March 4, 2010
Copyright 2010© LRP Publications