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OSHA Warns Against of Formaldehyde and the Risks for Work-Related Injuries in Massachusetts, Nation

Even more is being done by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to warn salon owners and employees about the dangers that are associated with the use of formaldehyde and the risks of work-related injuries in Massachusetts from overexposure to the substance.
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Just a month ago, OSHA dished out a number of violations and fined 2 salons for not taking the proper safe measures to prevent employees from being exposed to the chemical. This substance can cause allergic reactions to the skin, can irritate eyes, lungs and noses and can caused cancer.

Our Boston workers compensation attorneys understand that salons are required by law to take the proper precautions to keep workers safe when working with formaldehyde. So far in 2011, OSHA has handed out violations and citations for nearly 25 salons and beauty schools throughout the country, including in Massachusetts. The fines were up to $17,500 per visitation and were issued for failing to protect employees from overexposure and unnecessary exposure to the product.

“We want to make sure that salon owners are aware that if they use these products, they have to implement protective measures,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels.

In three difference hair salons, test results concluded that employees were exposed to dangerous levels of the chemical for longer than the agency’s 15-minute short-term exposure limit. At one of the violating salons, OSHA inspectors determined than an employee was exposed to formaldehyde more than five times over the allowable amount.

Beauty salons are urged to use products that are marked as “formaldehyde free.” Products should also be free of glycol, methylene and methylene, which are other common names for formaldehyde. If a salon must use a product with formaldehyde in it, it is required by law to monitor the air condition, train employees and keep an eye on the levels of formaldehyde that are in the air. Respirators and proper ventilation must also be provided.

To help combat the problem, OSHA has conducted a number of outreach programs to help to educate manufacturers, salon schools and salons and to also warn them about the dangers affiliated with the product. Back in September, OSHA released a hazard alert to owners of salons across the country to warn them about these same problems as well. This new alert is similar to the September release, but has been revised and was requested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Salon owners can request an on-site consultation from OSHA. This service is free and will not result in penalties, violations or citations. This consultation is offered to help owners to improve the safety of their business. In 2010, OSHA program consulted approximately 30,000 businesses that employed nearly 2 million people across the country to help make work areas safer for employees and for customers.

The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC is a group of experienced and knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyers who are dedicated to fighting for the rights of injured workers in Massachusetts. Call 1-877-617-5333 for a free consultation.

More Blog Entries:

Nearly $200,000 in Fines for Failing to Prevent Work Accidents in New England, Massachusetts Workers Compensation Lawyers Blog, November 20, 2011

OSHA Issues New Workers’ Rights Booklet to Help Reduce Work-Related Accidents in Boston and Elsewhere, Massachusetts Workers Compensation Lawyers Blog, November 16, 2011