Preventing worker deaths from methylene chloride
Methylene chloride (dichloromethane) is a widely used solvent that can cause serious illness or death when used in enclosed spaces. It is a cancer-causing chemical used in paint strippers, in the production of polymer foams and as a degreaser. OHB investigated the deaths of two California workers due to methylene chloride overexposure. Now OHB is launching a web page on preventing worker deaths from paint strippers containing methylene chloride.
Preventing worker deaths from paint strippers containing methylene chloride – Safer alternatives web page
Electronic Waste Recycling: Working Safely – New factsheet
Our society’s increasing appetite for the latest electronic equipment is fueling a growing electronic waste (e-waste) recycling industry. In e-waste recycling, workers may encounter unanticipated hazards that can result in injury, hearing loss, and/or exposure to toxic dusts and other chemicals. These hazards can cause serious and sometimes permanent health problems. This fact sheet describes the hazards that may occur in e-waste recycling and highlights actions companies can take to control these hazards, as well as things workers can do to protect themselves.
Electronic Waste Recycling: Working Safely (PDF) – factsheet
For more information on our work in this area, see Early Warning about Workplace Hazards
California Occupational Health Indicators – Annually updated data
Occupational health indicators are a set of statistics that help explain the current state of worker health. OHB tracks California employment demographics and 20 health indicators to understand and share trends related to worker injuries, illnesses, exposure and other factors that influence occupational health. The data are presented annually starting with the year 2000. Work-related injuries and illnesses can be prevented. Having the data necessary to understand the problem is the first step.
California Occupational Health Indicators | Data Tables for California Occupational Health Indicators
California Worker Health and Safety at a Glance (PDF)
For more information on Occupational Health Indicators across the US, go to CSTE Occupational Health Indicators
Certification standards help employers buy safer cleaning products
Cleaning products can be hazardous. They can be corrosive to eyes and skin, highly toxic, and can cause asthma and other breathing problems. Custodians, cleaners and maintenance workers are most at risk from exposure to cleaning agents. The Work-Related Asthma Prevention Program in OHB has found that work-related asthma among custodians and cleaners is double the rate in the overall workforce. OHB has also found that other building occupants get asthma from cleaning chemicals used in their workplace.
Fortunately, it is now easier to find safer cleaning products. Two independent organizations, EcoLogo and Green Seal, publish third-party certification standards for safer products. OHB participated in the development of cleaning product standards and successfully argued for the prohibition of ingredients known to cause allergic-type asthma.
View full announcement: Certification standards help employers buy safer cleaning products (PDF)
For more information on OHB work in this area, see Tracking Work-Related Asthma
Occupational Health Branch home page
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