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149 Improving the impact: Recommendations for the use of cleaning chemicals
  1. P K Henneberger1,
  2. K Fagan2,
  3. S A Henn1
  1. 1National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Morgantown, WV, United States of America
  2. 2Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Washington, DC, United States of America

Abstract

Objectives Cleaning chemicals are commonly used in the occupational environment and have been associated with increased risks of asthma, upper and lower respiratory symptoms, and dermatitis. It is important that cleaning workers use appropriate products safely. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the United States collaborated to develop educational materials targeted at workers that use cleaning chemicals and their employers.

Methods OSHA and NIOSH staff used published data about cleaning chemicals to guide the content of an information sheet and poster, sought input from industry, unions, government and academia, and developed plans for dissemination of these educational materials.

Results The information sheet and poster were released to the public in 2012 and are electronically available on the OSHA and NIOSH websites. The information sheet, developed for employers, is 6 pages and includes sections on choosing safer cleaning chemicals, safer work practices, worker training, and resources, including numerous links to sites on the internet that have additional information. The poster, developed for workers, alerts workers to the potentially harmful effects of cleaning chemicals and what they need to know to work safely with these chemicals. The poster, originally in English, has been translated into Spanish, Chinese, and Tagalog, and can be printed in varying sizes. The educational materials were disseminated through a network of partnerships created by the NIOSH National Occupational Research Agenda that included unions, safety and health professionals, worker organizations, academia, and government agencies.

Conclusions The information sheet and poster have filled a need for clear communication about chemical cleaners that workers handle every day. Efforts to further disseminate these materials are still underway. Additional feedback from stakeholders will determine if additional translated languages are needed.

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