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18 April 2019

A guide on detoxifying workplaces

The US Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) has just published its new Guide to Securing a Nontoxic Work Environment.

According to the guide’s authors, some 50,000 people die each year in the US from the consequences of a work-related disease. In the majority of cases, death is caused by a toxic chemical substance. The probability of dying from such occupational exposure is higher than that of being killed in a road accident or of dying from an overdose of opiates. Regulation of chemical substances is inadequate, allowing workers to be exposed to risks much higher than for the population in general. Based on current scientific knowledge, protection could be much more effective.

The guide encourages the world of work to take action without waiting for new legislative improvements. Such action can take many different forms. The guide is divided into three sections:

  • Strategies to reduce toxic risks and assist injured workers.
  • An overview of federal laws governing toxic chemicals.
  • Resources for gathering information about chemical hazards.

Even if major differences exist between the European Union and the United States in this field, the methodology described in this guide is of great interest for union action in Europe on improving protection. In particular, the accent put on the importance of a legal strategy is just as important on this side of the Atlantic as it is in the US.

The guide was compiled by Thomas McGarity, Sidney Shapiro, Rena Steinzor and Katie Tracy. Founded in 2002, the non-profit CPR connects a nationwide network of scholars with policymakers and allied public interest advocates. CPR pursues a vision of legal and regulatory policies that put health, safety, and environmental protection before private interests and corporate profit.

Download the guide

Photo : CPR

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