A list of major industries in Richmond shows a variety of them use chemicals in manufacturing everything from paint and rubber components to machined automotive parts of many different types. There are also many makers of products that include lead acid batteries, vinyl construction products, air, gas and liquid purifiers, insulated electrical cable, and more, large machine shops. And then there is a pilot plant for the destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles. It’s fair to say that chemicals are a big part of business here, according to the above information from the Richmond Industrial Development Corp.
It’s also fair to say that each plant, forge and manufacturer who deals with chemicals has adopted safety procedures for handling these chemicals, as well as emergency preparedness measures should there ever be exposure or an accident. It’s part of the requirements for maintaining a safe workplace as defined by the U.S. government’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. As part of the Dept. of Labor, OSHA is responsible for ensuring safe working conditions for men and women through training, education and assistance.
Protection from toxic chemicals is a fundamental worker right as defined by the agency. Additional rights of workers include:
- Not being retaliated against for bringing up a safety concern or requesting an OSHA inspection
- Working on machines that are safe and in good repair
- Company-provided safety gear as appropriate, which may include gloves or, if you work on platforms, a harness and lifeline
- Copies of hazard tests conducted in your workplace
- Ability to look at records of illness and injuries related to work
If you work around chemicals, you should also know that OSHA admits that its standards on chemical safety are outdated, so if you have any concerns, you should take them to your manager. You can also directly contact OSHA by calling 800-321-6742.