Several Workplace Safety Hazards-Chemical
Several workplace safety hazards-Chemicals
Chemicals can be expensive, and workers in some industries may never know when they’ll need to use a certain chemical again in the future. But according to Harrington, this kind of thinking can lead to serious hazards.
“Before you know it, you have all these chemicals no one wants or needs,” she said. “There’ll be literally hundreds of chemicals on the shelves.”
She added that although it may be easy to overlook a small, 5-gram bottle, those 5 grams can become unstable over time. For example, after a year or so, ether can degrade into explosive peroxide.
When an organization purchases and uses chemicals, it needs to have a control system, Harrington said. It needs to know what the chemicals are for and why they were ordered.
OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard requires facilities to keep an inventory of all products. Mark down the chemical’s expiration date, and use the chemical by that date or dispose of it properly. This is more than just a safety issue, Harrington said – stockpiling a huge cache of unwanted chemicals can be illegal. It also can be very expensive to dispose of large quantities of expired chemicals.
Another potential hazard is transferring chemicals from one container to another. Even if employees feel comfortable around the chemicals and have worked with them for years, the containers must be labeled as required under the hazcom standard.