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EPA to join OSHA in enforcing toxic chemicals safety standards

A newly expanded regulation will result in government oversight of workers using toxic chemicals by two agencies instead of just one.

The Environmental Protection Agency will now oversee workers’ safety standards under a revised Toxic Substances Control Act, in addition to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

“To summarize, it’s a piece of legislation that made a lot of sense, but will have a negative consequence down the road,” National Marine Manufacturers Association government relations vice president John McKnight told Trade Only Today. “Oversight over worker exposure to chemicals has always been exclusively up to OSHA.”

Environmental health and union representatives urged the EPA during public meetings held Aug. 9-10 to use its new authority under the amended Toxic Substances Control Act to protect workers and other at-risk groups. Worker safety and protection from exposure to industrial chemicals on the job received particular attention at the meetings, according to Bloomberg BNA.

The result will be two regulatory agencies for businesses to deal with instead of just one, McKnight said.

“On the legislative side, that’s what we oppose in our federal and state group here in Washington, D.C.” — a growing government that pushes further regulation, McKnight said.

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