Online Program

Protecting workers: A toolkit for transitioning to safer chemicals in the workplace

Monday, November 4, 2013

Rebecca Reindel, MS MPH CPH, Standards and Guidance, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Washington, DC
Jessica Schifano, JD MPH, Standards and Guidance, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Washington, DC
Tens of thousands of chemicals are used by workers every day in the United States. While many of these chemicals are hazardous, only a small number are regulated in the workplace. Even where occupational exposure limits exist, approaches typically used to comply with chemical regulations often fail to implement the traditional hierarchy of controls. Ultimately, this leaves workers frequently under-protected from chemical hazards. Going beyond compliance to eliminate or substitute chemicals of concern not only ensures workers are protected from these hazards, but also provides an opportunity for businesses to engage workers, save money, improve efficiency, and minimize liabilities. Proactive, preventative strategies for eliminating chemical hazards at the source and transitioning to safer chemicals, such as informed substitution and alternatives assessment, can help achieve these objectives. Implementing these strategies is a complex undertaking, but existing methods, tools, databases, and guidance can make it easier. This presentation will discuss various approaches for transitioning to safer chemicals, highlighting best practices and describing the use of existing tools and databases in occupational settings.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Environmental health sciences
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Differentiate between various approaches used for transitioning to safer chemicals in the workplace. Identify best practices used to enable the safer chemical transition. Describe the use of existing tools and databases for safer chemical management in occupational settings.

Keyword(s): Workplace Safety, Management and Sustainability

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a professional at the U.S. agency that regulates and develops guidance on workplace safety and health and chemical exposures, as well as related policy. Previously, I have conducted research on workplace safety and health. I am trained academically in biology, chemistry, toxicology, epidemiology and public health, specifically environmental and occupational public health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 3264.1: Chemicals & toxic substances