Category: Chemicals

Today’s workplace uses thousands of chemicals, many of which are hazardous. The resources in this section will help guide you in the safe and legal identification, storage, transport, and use of these chemicals, and in making sure that your employees right to know how to be safe around such substances is provided, as required by law.

Why You Should Be Using an Electronic MSDS System

OSHA likes the idea too–as long as employees have immediate access. “Immediate access” means that, in emergencies, the MSDS should be available during the workshift when it was requested. In nonemergencies, it should be available by the next workshift at the latest. Your electronic MSDS system should be: Reliable. Electronic systems must provide reliable access […]

Are You on Schedule with Respirator Cartridge Change?

Respirator cartridges and canisters don’t last forever, and replacing them at the appropriate time is an essential element of protecting employees from respiratory hazards. Paragraph (d)(3)(iii)(B)(2) of OSHA’s respiratory protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134) says that if your employees use air-purifying respirators, you must develop a cartridge/canister change schedule. The useful service life of a […]

Respiratory Hazard Assessment: When? What? How Much?

When assessing the potential for respiratory hazard exposure in the workplace, OSHA says the key issues are when, what, and how much. Paragraph (d)(1)(iii) of the Respiratory Protection Standard (29 CFR 1910.134) requires you to identify and evaluate the respiratory hazards in your workplace. Specifically it says: “The employer shall identify and evaluate the respiratory […]

10 Steps to Keep Contact Wearers Safe in Chemical Environments

To keep contact lens wearers safe in chemical environments, NIOSH recommends these guidelines. NIOSH recommends that workers be permitted to wear contact lenses when handling hazardous chemicals provided that the safety guidelines below here are followed and that contact lenses are not banned by regulation or contraindicated by medical or industrial hygiene recommendations. 1. Conduct […]

Control Banding: An Effective Way to Better Evaluate Chemical Hazards

Control banding helps you better evaluate chemical information in the context of the unique conditions of your workplace, especially when the MSDS and product label don’t tell the whole story. As a safety and health professional, you know that certain chemicals are hazardous, but there’s often no way to know the actual risk to workers […]

What to Do with Chemicals Without PELs

What do you do with hazardous chemicals for which OSHA has not designated a permissible exposure limit? Absent a PEL, you need other guidelines to protect employee health. But what are they? When there is no specific regulation concerning a hazard, the general duty clause kicks in. But it merely states that employers must “furnish […]

7 Simple Steps to More Effective Hazard Communication

Yesterday, we reviewed a study that revealed some disturbing news about workers’ perceptions concerning chemical safety in the workplace. Today, we suggest 7 simple steps for correcting the hazard communication deficiencies highlighted by the study. To ensure more effective hazard communication: 1.   Train supervisors and safety personnel to communicate hazard information and safety procedures effectively. […]

How Do Your Workers Perceive Chemical Risks?

According to a new study, workplace hazard communication might not always be as effectively as we’d like to believe. New research from Belgium has made some very important (some might even say alarming) findings about chemical safety in the workplace. The study, entitled “Workers’ Perception of Chemical Risks: A Focus Group Study,” was published in […]

What’s So Important About HazCom Training?

What you are about to read is the story of an actual hazardous substance accident inspected and documented by OSHA. This story highlights the importance of HazCom training. Aside from compliance with OSHA’s hazard communication standard (29 CFR 1901.1200), HazCom training is essential because it prevents accidents, like this one: An employee was removing a […]

Take the HazCom ‘Brain-Teaser’ Quiz

Got a few minutes to test your knowledge of HazCom requirements? Answer the questions below and then check your responses. Employers have four basic duties under the Hazard Communication standard. What are they? When must employees receive HazCom training? Who is responsible for training temps? The HazCom standard identifies four basic components that must be […]