Many companies use chemicals on a daily basis for a variety of needs, but a lot of those Employers have not trained their employees on the hazards of working with those chemicals. In this month’s Safety Bulletin we will go over the 2nd most cited OSHA violation, Hazard Communication. This is one of the most easily avoidable violations with OSHA, if you spend a little bit of time and complete the basics to be compliant. The violations most cited under HazCom is (a) not implementing a program, (b) not training employees on your program, (c) not maintaining SDS books, and (d) not training employees on how to read and understand the GHS labels. 5,665 violations were handed out in 2016 for HazCom alone. The following are the minimum topics you must train your employees on.
Safety Data Sheets and Chemical Inventories
Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are developed by the chemical manufacturer to provide information concerning safe use of the product. They provide workers and emergency personnel with information on physical properties, toxicity, health effects, first aid measures, reactivity, storage, disposal, protective equipment, and spill-handling procedures. SDSs are required to be up to date and readily available for every hazardous chemical at each worksite. One of the easiest ways to create and complete an SDS book is to get these sheets directly from the vendor you purchase your chemicals from. You can even search for them online.
GHS Pictograms and Hazard Classes
The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires certain pictograms be included on manufacturer and supplier labels of chemical containers to warn you of potential hazards of exposure. The pictograms on the right are part of the new Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.
Chemical Container Labeling
All containers of chemicals must be properly labeled. The HCS dictates the following workplace labeling requirements:
· Labels must identify the hazardous chemicals using either the chemical or common or trade name.
· Labels or hazard warnings must be legible, in English, and prominently displayed on the chemical container or area of use.
· Labels must contain appropriate GHS hazard warnings and/or signal words. (“Danger” for the more severe hazards and “Warning” is used for less severe hazards.)
When providing training to employees, they must be informed about certain rights they have under the Hazard Communication Program:
· Receive information regarding hazardous substances to which you may be exposed.
· Employee’s physician to receive information regarding hazardous substances to which you may be exposed.
· Access your medical and exposure monitoring records.
· Cannot be fired or discriminated due to exercising their right to know.
Chemical Hazard Assessments And Review
A hazard assessment should be conducted when a new task or hazardous chemical is introduced into the workplace. The hazard assessment should identify all potential hazards. Try to focus on eliminating or reducing hazards through the use of engineering controls, work practices and PPE.
Safe Work Practices
Safe work practices must always be followed when hazardous chemicals are present. They include:
· Read Safety Data Sheets prior to starting work.
· Eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals, or substitute for less hazardous chemicals whenever possible.
· Limit the volume of hazardous chemicals to the minimum needed.
· Keep the work areas clean and orderly.
· Implement engineering and/or administrative controls to reduce exposure.
· Use necessary personal protective equipment (gloves, eye protection, etc.).
The proper separation and storage of chemicals is necessary to reduce the possibility of unwanted chemical reactions. Use either distance or barriers to isolate chemicals into the following groups; acids, bases, flammables and oxidizers. Always store chemicals in a well-ventilated area and avoid stockpiling chemicals by purchasing only what is needed. Conduct periodic cleanouts to minimize the accumulation of unwanted chemicals.
Spill Response and Cleanup
You should always have a spill response plan in place prior to working with hazardous chemicals.
However, you should NOT attempt to clean up a spill if:
· The spill is unknown or highly toxic.
· You have net been trained to do the cleanup safely.
· The spill is large and cannot be contained with a small spill kit.
· You are experiencing symptoms of exposure.
If you have any questions any information found in this posting, please contact the LL Roberts Group or our Safety Division, Roberts Risk Management (toll free) at 877.878.6463. You can even talk to us on Facebook or Twitter!