The constant question around workplace accidents and injuries is “can they be prevented?” After an accident occurs, investigations try to identify the cause and what safety precautions can be put in place to prevent that accident from happening in the future. In some instances, workers suffer injuries because they were not aware of existing hazards.
Take chemicals, for example. If a worker does not realize that a chemical is hazardous or potentially hazardous, there is greater risk of an accident or subsequent injury. The impact is even greater if emergency responders arrive and do not know what types of chemicals caused the injury.
States are required to keep reports from both public and private facilities that list hazardous chemicals. But there is a growing concern that states are not auditing the reports to check for missing reports or errors.
There is no indication that Colorado facilities are failing to disclose or identify dangerous chemicals. But this is still something to keep in mind if you work with or around different chemical substances.
Source: Reuters, “Exclusive: U.S. system for flagging hazardous chemicals is widely flawed,” M.B. Pell, Ryan McNeill and Selam Gebrekidan, Aug. 10, 2013