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NEWS
ASSE Urges Hazard Communication Rule
January 12, 2010

The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) President C. Christopher Patton, CSP, noted in a letter sent recently to Assistant Secretary for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) David Michaels that ASSE supports the goal of the Hazard Communication proposed rule, a rule that seeks to ensure that the hazards of all chemicals produced or imported are evaluated and communicated to employers and employees. The rule will harmonize chemical hazard communications worldwide and will help U.S. employers compete in the international marketplace as well as increasing work safety.

In June 2005, ASSE published Control Banding and the Future of the HazCom Standard, a position paper that urged OSHA and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to consider the use of Control Banding (CB) models in a revised HCS. From the ASSE review of the leading international resources on CB, ASSE believes OSHA should update the HCS to incorporate elements of CB.

Control Banding is a technique used to guide the assessment and management of workplace risks. It is a generic technique that determines a control measure (for example dilution ventilation, engineering controls, containment, etc.) based on a range or “band” of hazards (such as skin/eye irritant, very toxic, carcinogenic, etc) and exposures (small, medium, large exposure), according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). It is an approach that is based on two pillars; the fact that there are a limited number of control approaches, and that many problems have been met and solved before. CB uses the solutions that experts have developed previously to control occupational chemical exposures, and suggesting them to other tasks with similar exposure situations. It is an approach that focuses resources on exposure controls and describes how strictly a risk needs to be managed.

Go to www.asse.org for a full copy of the ASSE letter.


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