Lab workers in Ohio and around the country may be concerned about their safety on the job, especially if they regularly handle potentially dangerous chemical or biological agents. Toxic exposure can lead to occupational diseases and serious workplace injuries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has created specific standards to protect the over 500,000 laboratory workers across the country. These standards can apply to a range of laboratory work environments, including academic facilities, chemical storage rooms, waste handling areas, and receiving and loading docks.
These workplace safety standards apply to all labs where workers handle some form of hazardous chemicals. According to the OSHA regulations, employers must name a trained chemical hygiene officer to create a safety plan for the laboratory. This can also include making sure that all workers who may interact with toxic substances are properly trained and provided with the correct personal protective equipment to minimize the risk of hazardous exposure.
Further levels of protection are required for workers who may handle particularly dangerous substances, including major carcinogens, chemicals that cause reproductive harm or acute poisons. Several substances have specific OSHA regulations that apply to their use, such as methylene chloride, formaldehyde and benzene. Laboratories are also obligated to follow the chemical handling procedures and safe exposure limits specified for any given substance.
When lab workers are injured on the job, they may face costly medical bills and time away from work as a result. This may be especially true when labs fail to follow federal regulations. A workers’ compensation attorney may help people to protect their rights and pursue much-needed benefits.