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Be aware of new EPA labeling requirements

Texas workers must often be concerned with the safe handling of hazardous materials while on the job. New guidelines from the Environmental Protection Agency are designed to increase awareness and improve workplace safety. Becoming familiar with these guidelines is the best way to ensure materials are properly handled, stored and disposed of.

The EPA's Resource Conservation and Recovery Act governs the labeling of hazardous materials. Until recently, waste generators were not required to identify hazardous materials or warn others about their dangers. The latest mandates, however, require labels that clearly state 'hazardous waste" along with a description of what is in the container. The date on which waste began accumulating must be included as well.

Labeling requirements are mandatory in locations where hazardous waste is stored as well as in transfer and disposal facilities. Before disposing of waste, an RCRA waste code must be either handwritten on the container or printed out as a bar code and stuck to the side.

Serious injury or even death may occur from the mishandling or improper storage of hazardous materials. Labeling protocol such as these help workers know what they are dealing with so they can take the right protective measures. However, when labels are not filled out properly, employees could be at risk.

Anyone who has been injured because of a workplace safety violation might have a remedy available under law. Those who have suffered because an employer failed to meet the labeling requirements may wish to speak with an attorney. Legal counsel could advise an injured worker about any possible damages they might be able to recover.

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