Train Workers on These Five Strategies for Reducing Exposure Risk

by ckilbourne

Hazardous chemicals are a real and present danger in more than 3 million American workplaces, according to OSHA. If yours is one of them, train your workers to avoid the risk of exposure.

1.  Know What You’re Up Against

  • Pay attention to safety training, and learn all you can about potential hazards.
  • Ask questions whenever you’re not sure about a hazard or protective measure.
  • Read the chemical label and SDS to learn about:
    -Health problems that can result from exposure, and
    -Routes of exposure.

2.  Use Assigned Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Read the SDS to find out which type of PPE will protect you from exposure.
  • Select PPE that’s in good condition and fits properly.
  • Remove and dispose of PPE carefully to prevent the spread of contamination.

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3.  Handle Chemicals Safely

  • Inspect containers regularly, and report leaks and missing or unreadable labels.
  • Keep containers closed when not in use.
  • Remove from a container only the amount you need for a job.
  • Use required ventilation to remove vapors.
  • Store and use chemicals away from conditions that could cause hazardous reactions.

4.  Practice Good Hygiene

  • Keep food, drink, tobacco products, cosmetics, and street clothes out of hazardous areas.
  • Wash thoroughly after working with hazardous chemicals.
  • Launder separately work clothes that may be contaminated.

5.  Know What to Do in an Emergency

  • Clean up spills and leaks immediately if you are authorized and trained to do so, or alert trained responders.
  • Follow your evacuation route immediately in an emergency.
  • Act fast after contact with a hazardous material:
    -Get into fresh air after inhalation; then get medical attention.
    -Flush with water after skin or eye contact; then get medical attention.
    -Get immediate medical attention after swallowing a hazardous material.

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Why It Matters

  • The basic goal of hazard communication is to ensure your employees understand the hazards of chemicals and the precautions they must take to protect their safety, health, and the environment.
  • Now, under the GHS, the Hazard Communication Standard will change, aligning U.S. regulations with the international system.
  • Employees need to understand the Hazard Communication Standard, the risks of exposure, the new GHS-compliant chemical labels and SDSs, and measures they can take to protect themselves.


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