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What is HAZWOPER?
Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response is a set of guidelines produced and maintained by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration which regulates hazardous waste operations and emergency services in the United States and its territories. With these guidelines, the U.S. government regulates hazardous wastes and dangerous goods from inception to disposal.
HAZWOPER applies to five groups of employers and their employees. This includes employees who are exposed (or potentially exposed) to hazardous substances (including hazardous waste) and who are engaged in one of the following operations as specified by OSHA regulations 1910.120(a)(1)(i-v) and 1926.65(a)(1)(i-v):
- Cleanup operations required by a governmental body (federal, state, local or other) involving hazardous substances conducted at uncontrolled hazardous-waste sites
- Corrective actions involving clean-up operations at sites covered by the Resource
- Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA) as amended (42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.)
- Voluntary cleanup operations at sites recognized by a federal, state, local, or other governmental body as uncontrolled hazardous-waste sites
- Operations involving hazardous waste which are conducted at treatment, storage and disposal facilities regulated by Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations, parts 264 and 265 pursuant to the RCRA, or by agencies under agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to implement RCRA regulations
- Emergency response operations for releases of, or substantial threats of release of, hazardous substances (regardless of the hazard's location)
Direct from OSHA:
"Computer-based training may meet some refresher training requirements, provided that it covers topics relevant to workers' assigned duties. It must be supplemented by the opportunity to ask questions of a qualified trainer and by an assessment of hands-on performance of work tasks."
Reference Interpretation and Compliance Letters:
- The use of computer-based training to satisfy OSHA training requirements. [11/22/94]
- The acceptability of a computer based, self-paced training program for use in meeting the refresher training requirements of the standard. [10/11/94]
Please note: Each individual HAZWOPER course contains video content that is about 20 to 25 minutes in length. It takes, on average, about 45 to 60 minutes to finish one of the HAZWOPER courses. Site-specific, and supplemental training may be necessary to fully comply with OSHA's hourly training requirements.
Using the 23 courses in this series, packages can be configured that cover the HAZWOPER training requirements for “Annual Retraining” through “40-Hour Training”. There are 20 courses for the 40-Hour HAZWOPER course, and 3 specialized courses for the 8-Hour Refresher Training.
Also, the pricing is based on "course accesses", and the price you pay will vary depending on the number of users you purchase the training for and the combination of individual HAZWOPER course access you purchase. Contact us for more information or visit our pricing page.
Packages are available for:
- Annual 8-hour Retraining
- Emergency Response: Awareness
- Emergency Response: Operations
- Supplemental Training
- Emergency Response: HAZMAT Technician
- General Training
- 40-Hour Training
Individual HAZWOPER Courses in this series:
- Understanding HAZWOPER
- Understanding Chemical Hazards
- The Emergency Response Plan
- The Site Safety & Health Plan
- HAZMAT Labeling
- Confined Space Entry
- Introduction to HAZWOPER Retraining
- Personal Protective Equipment
- Medical Surveillance Programs
- Monitoring Procedures and Equipment
- Accidental Release Measures and Spill Cleanup Procedures
- Personal Protective Equipment/Decontamination Procedures
- The ANSI MSDS
- Handling Hazardous Materials
- Work Practices and Engineering Controls
- Respiratory Protection
- Fire Prevention and Safety
- Exposure Monitoring and Medical Surveillance
- Dealing with the Media in Emergency Situations
- Safety Orientation
- Electrical Safety in HAZMAT Environments
- Heat Stress
- Decontamination Procedures
An employee checks the label on a waste container drum
Course Outline for Course #1 - Understanding HAZWOPER
• In 1976, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to regulate the handling of hazardous waste “from cradle to grave".
— RCRA covers operations which generate, treat, store or dispose of hazardous waste.
• In 1980, the EPA issued the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).
— Also known as "Superfund", CERCLA made provisions for the cleanup of abandoned and uncontrolled hazardous waste sites not covered by RCRA.
• In 1986, CERCLA was amended by the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA).
— SARA provided nine billion dollars to fund hazardous waste cleanup operations.
— It also charged OSHA with establishing standards to protect workers on hazardous waste sites.
• The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created in 1970 as a part of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
— This act requires employers to provide "a place of employment free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees."
— Congress empowered OSHA to enforce safety standards through inspections, citations and fines.
• In 1986, when the EPA charged OSHA with the task of protecting HAZMAT workers, OSHA issued the Interim Final Rule for Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response.
— Also known as "HAZWOPER."
• In 1990, this HAZWOPER rule was finalized. It affects workers involved in:
— Hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal.
— Hazardous waste cleanup operations.
— Emergency response operations where hazardous materials are present.
• The purpose of this videotape program is to help you understand:
— The HAZWOPER regulation.
— Your rights and responsibilities as someone who works with hazardous materials.
— How to work safely around hazardous substances.
• What makes a substance "hazardous"?
— There is no simple answer.
— You need to look at several sources of information to get a complete definition.
• In OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard, a "Hazardous Chemical" is defined as any chemical which poses either a physical hazard or a health hazard. According to OSHA, chemicals that present "Physical Hazards" include:
— Organic Peroxides.
— Reactive chemicals.
— Compressed gases.
• OSHA's list of chemicals that are "Health Hazards" includes:
— Toxic and highly toxic agents.
• The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) lists the materials it considers hazardous in its Hazardous Material Table in 49 CFR 172.101.
— According to DOT, a "Hazardous Material" is any substance which could present an "unreasonable risk to health, safety or property when transported."
• Since the EPA initiated HAZWOPER, we should look to some of their standards as well.
— To define "Hazardous Substances" in CERCLA, the EPA refers us to lists of specific materials in the Clean Water Act and in RCRA (the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act).
• Finally, also in RCRA, the EPA defines "Hazardous Waste" as any discarded material which is:
• Often, the easiest way to tell if a particular substance is hazardous is to look right on the container label.
— There are several different labeling systems, and OSHA, DOT and EPA guidelines all require that hazardous materials bear warnings of the hazards they present.
• More detailed hazard information and handling instructions can be found on a hazardous material's Shipping Papers and other written documentation.
— You can also look at a chemical's Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for information on hazards and safety precautions.
• Sometimes, however, an MSDS is not available. Other times we can encounter materials without container labels... or even without containers.
— In these situations, we need to use air monitoring to detect what HAZWOPER calls "IDLH Conditions" (conditions which are "Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health").
— Laboratory analysis of contaminated air or samples of the material itself can confirm any IDLH conditions.
— Analysis can also provide detailed information about other safety and health hazards the substance may present.
• Once we have this information, we can determine which controls and practices we need to use to minimize these hazards.
— This is the goal of the HAZWOPER regulation.
• In accordance with HAZWOPER, your operation has a "Site Safety and Health Plan" that specifies how hazards should be:
• This written plan includes descriptions of the specific tasks being performed on-site, as well as information about your operation's:
— Organizational structure.
— Safety and health training program.
— Medical Surveillance Program.
— Standard Operating Procedures.
• Your company also has a written "Emergency Response Plan", which includes instructions on how to report and handle emergencies at your site.
• The HAZWOPER Standard has specific training requirements for employees who could be exposed to hazardous materials on the job, which include:
— The identification of the specific safety, health and other hazards on the site.
— The use of Engineering Controls.
— Appropriate Work Practices.
— Selection and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
• The amount of training you need depends on the type of work you will be doing. If you are involved in the removal of hazardous substances, or other activities that could expose you to these substances for prolonged periods, you need:
— A minimum of 40 hours of classroom instruction.
— No less than three days of field training.
• You need a minimum of 24 hours of classroom instruction and no less than one day of field experience if you:
— Will only be on site occasionally to perform specific, limited tasks... such as surveying or taking air samples.
— Are unlikely to be exposed to hazardous materials above their published exposure limits.
• The same 24-hour training requirement holds true if you work in areas where:
— Exposures are lower than published exposure limits
— Respirators are not necessary.
— No health hazards are present.
— Emergencies involving hazardous materials can not occur.
• While these guidelines represent the minimum amount of training which is required, you may actually receive more. On the other hand, you may undergo less training if you already have experience which is equivalent to some of the training required by HAZWOPER, such as:
— Work experience.
— Academic course work.
— Other hazardous materials training.
• Either way, you will still receive site-specific training about the hazards of your operation before beginning work.
• At least once a year, you will also receive eight hours of "Refresher Training".
— This will be a basic review of your initial HAZWOPER training.
— It may also include a critique of any recent emergency incidents that illustrate the types of situations you could face.
• HAZWOPER also requires that all hazardous waste sites be evaluated to:
— Identify specific hazards.
— Determine what safety and health control procedures should be used at the site.
• This begins with a "Preliminary Evaluation" to determine what precautions need to be taken in order to do a more thorough "Site Characterization".
• IDLH conditions are the focus of the Preliminary Evaluation, along with any other conditions which could cause death, serious illness or injury. These include:
— Confined spaces.
— Visible vapor clouds.
— Potentially flammable or explosive situations.
• Once these immediate hazards have been dealt with, Site Characterization can continue.
— At this stage, all of the potential safety and health hazards will be thoroughly explored and analyzed.
— The end result of Site Characterization is the development of a "Site Control Program".
• The Site Control Program is a part of your operation’s written Site Safety and Health Plan.
— It includes a site map displaying work zones, as well as guidelines for using the “buddy system” to help prevent exposures.
— The program also outlines communication procedures, including how to report emergencies.
• The Site Control Program also identifies your operation’s:
— Standard Operating Procedures.
— Safe Work Practices
— Sources of medical assistance.
• "Monitoring" plays a major role in:
— Preliminary Evaluations.
— Site Characterizations.
— On-going activities at your site.
• It is the primary means of identifying and measuring levels of hazardous substances .
— This is vital in determining the controls and practices that should be used at the site.
• During the preliminary evaluation, the goal of monitoring is to identify:
— Conditions which are "Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health" (IDLH).
— Airborne contaminant levels over a substance’s published exposure limit.
— Radiation levels over a radioactive material’s "Dose Limit".
• Monitoring is also used to identify other dangerous conditions, such as:
— Flammable atmospheres.
— Oxygen-rich or oxygen-deficient environments.
• Depending on the conditions at your work site, monitoring could be ongoing, or just done periodically.
— Monitoring will continue as long as exposure levels have the potential to rise above published exposure limits.
— It must also continue if flammable atmospheres or other dangerous conditions could possibly develop.
• Monitoring will also be done whenever:
— A new type of activity starts.
— New or unidentified substances are involved.
— Work begins on another part of the site.
• Individual situations which present a high risk of exposure to hazardous substances also require monitoring. This includes:
— Handling leaking drums or containers.
— Working in areas with obvious liquid contamination, such as a spill or contaminated water.
• Since many HAZMAT jobs present serious health hazards, HAZWOPER may also require that you participate in your operation’s "Medical Surveillance Program":
— This helps to protect you from the effects of exposure to hazardous substances.
• You will participate in this program if over a one year period, you spend 30 days or more:
— Wearing a respirator.
— Working in an environment where there is the potential for exposure above published limits (whether or not a respirator is worn).
• Medical surveillance is also required if:
— You are a member of a HAZMAT Emergency Response Team.
— If you ever develop symptoms which could be caused by exposure to hazardous substances.
• Medical surveillance includes an initial examination prior to starting work.
— The exam will be used to determine if you have any conditions which might affect your ability to work safely around hazardous substances.
— It will also provide a baseline for comparison with additional examinations that you will have at least once every two years (OSHA recommends that these periodic exams be given every year).
• You will also need to have an examination if you are:
— Accidentally exposed to a hazardous substance above its published exposure limits.
— Displaying symptoms of overexposure.
— Injured on the job (even if the injury doesn’t involve a hazardous material).
• Medical examinations will be conducted by, or under the supervision of, a licensed physician.
— Medical tests, such as X-rays or blood screening, may also be a part of the Medical Surveillance Program if the doctor feels they are necessary.
— Exams and tests will be scheduled at a reasonable time and location.
— They will be provided at no cost to you.
• Based on the results of the medical exams and tests, the doctor will determine if you have any conditions which would:
— Put you at increased risk from work involving hazardous waste.
— Cause problems if you had to wear a respirator.
• The doctor will then provide your employer with a "Written Opinion", which will:
— Include any limitations on your work activity that the doctor recommends.
— Not discuss any medical findings unrelated to your job (these are strictly confidential).
• Your employer will provide you with a copy of the doctor’s Written Opinion for your own records.
• The regulation also calls for a "System of Controls" to be put in place to prevent overexposure to hazardous substances. This includes the use of:
— Engineering Controls.
— Safe Work Practices.
— Personal Protective Equipment.
• "Engineering Controls" are devices designed to prevent or reduce your exposure to hazards. They can include:
— Pressurized cabs on material handling equipment.
— Ventilation systems used to remove contaminated air from work areas.
• "Safe Work Practices" are policies, procedures and actions which can reduce or prevent your exposure to hazardous materials. Examples include:
— Having non-essential personnel leave areas of potential exposure.
— Staying upwind of possible airborne hazards.
— Wetting down dusty operations.
• Using Safe Work Practices includes following "Standard Operating Procedures". These are the methods for performing specific tasks at your site or in your facility which have been approved by your:
— Safety Director.
• The HAZWOPER regulation provides its own Standard Operating Procedures for working with drums and other containers.
— Safe handling is vital to minimizing exposure to contaminants.
• Government agencies, such as the DOT, OSHA and the EPA, have specific physical requirements for containers used to store or transport hazardous substances.
— You need to make sure that drums and other containers meet these guidelines.
— Remember to inspect containers for integrity before, during and after use.
• Containers used for hazardous substances must be properly labeled as well.
— You should treat unlabeled drums and containers as if they contain hazardous materials, until it has been determined otherwise.
• If sealed containers need to be opened for any reason, special precautions must be taken. These can include:
— Having unnecessary personnel leave the area.
— Using explosion-proof barriers and non-sparking equipment.
— Bleeding off excess pressure within the container before opening it.
— Moving drums and other containers of hazardous waste as little as possible.
• Special safety measures, such as the use of handling equipment with protective shielding, are required when it is necessary to transport containers of materials that are:
• Do not move containers that seem to be bulging or swelling from excess pressure until:
— The cause of the pressure can be determined.
— Appropriate precautions can be taken.
— Ask your supervisor about the specific procedures that are used at your location.
• Prior to shipping, hazardous waste containers must be identified and classified in a staging area.
— This is the best way to make sure that everyone knows what they are dealing with and how to handle it safely.
• If the combination of engineering controls and work practices cannot reduce your exposure to acceptable levels, then "Personal Protective Equipment" must also be used.
— Remember, PPE is not meant to be a standalone solution.
— It should be used together with other controls to provide adequate protection.
• The Personal Protective Equipment that you wear must always "match" the potential hazards of the work environment.
— There are four basic "levels" of PPE, each providing a different degree of protection.
• "Level D" provides only basic protection, in the form of either:
— A standard work uniform.
— Generic work clothing.
• "Level C" protection is used when:
— The concentrations and types of airborne contaminants are known.
— Contaminants are within acceptable limits for using full-face or half-mask air-purifying respirators.
— Hooded chemical-resistant clothing is also used at this level, to provide protection against skin-contact hazards and to simplify decontamination.
• "Level B" PPE provides the same amount of skin protection as Level C, but requires a much higher degree of respiratory protection. This includes the use of either:
— A full-facepiece Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA).
— A Supplied-Air Respirator (SAR).
• "Level A" provides the greatest degree of skin, respiratory and eye protection. This includes:
— An SCBA or an SAR.
— A totally-encapsulating Chemical Protective Suit.
— Other appropriate gear and clothing.
• While Chemical Protective Clothing and PPE protects you from exposure to hazardous substances, it usually becomes "contaminated" in the process.
— Your clothing, PPE, tools and equipment... even you... must be “decontaminated” whenever you leave a contaminated area.
— Decontamination is important to protect both you and everyone else you come into contact with, including your family and friends.
• The facilities and supplies you need for decontamination will be provided by your company.
— PPE and tools must be treated appropriately.
— Clothing must be laundered or properly disposed.
• You must shower to remove any hazardous material which may have come into contact with your body if:
— A hazardous material can pass through your work clothing.
— You are exposed during decontamination.
• Equipment and solvents used during decontamination will also become contaminated in the process.
— They must be decontaminated or disposed of as well.
• HAZWOPER also has requirements for a emergency response to incidents involving hazardous materials.
• These requirements begin with a written "Emergency Response Plan" which provides instructions on how to report and handle emergencies at your location. The Plan includes information on:
— The roles of personnel participating in a response.
— Lines of authority.
— Methods of communication.
— Training requirements.
• Your facility's Emergency Response Plan also includes information on:
— Recognizing and preventing emergencies.
— Site security.
— Evacuation procedures.
— Decontamination procedures.
— First aid.
— Emergency medical treatment.
• Training plays an important role in emergency response.
— HAZWOPER specifies five levels of training, depending on the role you might be expected to play in a hazardous materials incident.
• The "First Responder: Awareness Level" is for workers who are likely to witness a leak, spill or other accidental release of a hazardous substance.
— If you fall into this category, you will be trained on the proper reporting procedures used to initiate an emergency response.
• The "First Responder: Operations Level" is for workers who will be called upon to contain the release from a safe distance.
— People involved in Operations Level activities must undergo a minimum of eight hours of Emergency Response training.
• The next level of training is for "Hazardous Materials Technicians".
— These are workers who will approach the point of release of a hazardous substance, and plug, patch or otherwise stop the release.
— HAZMAT Technicians must undergo a minimum of 24 hours of training.
• A "Hazardous Materials Specialist" gets the same level of training as a HAZMAT Technician, but receives more detailed training about the substances on site.
— HAZMAT Specialists may also be called upon to act as site liaisons with federal, state, local or other government authorities.
• The individual with the most authority in an emergency response, the "Incident Commander", goes through a great deal of additional training to be prepared to:
— Take control of an incident scene.
— Coordinate the entire emergency response.
• No matter which role you play during an incident, it is important to be familiar with your operation’s Emergency Response Plan.
— Remember, this written program is the key to determining how to safely handle HAZMAT incidents at your site or facility.
* * *SUMMARY* * *
• Hazardous waste can present "Immediate Dangers to Life and Health", as well as long-term health problems.
— On Superfund cleanup sites.
— At hazardous waste treatment storage or disposal facilities.
— In emergency response situations.
• That’s why OSHA created HAZWOPER... the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Regulation.
— So you can get the information, training and equipment you need to work safely around hazardous materials!
This is a screenshot of one of the quiz questions in the
40-Hour HAZWOPER Online Training Course
Course Outline for Course #2 - Understanding Chemical Hazards
• You may have heard of Hazard Communication and "Right-To-Know" before, but you may not have thought about how it affects you.
— An ordinary cleanser can actually be toxic, flammable and explosive.
• You have the "Right-To-Know" about potentially hazardous materials that may be encountered in your workplace.
— That is the reason for OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard and similar state laws.
— The goal of these laws is to make sure that you have the information, training and equipment needed to work safely around hazardous materials.
• Chemical hazard information is communicated to you in three ways:
— Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS).
— Container Labels.
— Your facility's written Hazard Communication Program.
• The MSDS is a guide for the safe use of a specific chemical.
— Chemical manufacturers and distributors provide an MSDS for each of the products they sell.
— Your facility keeps copies of each MSDS on file for reference.
• The Material Safety Data Sheet is the primary source for information about a chemical product. The MSDS lists:
— All of the names which the chemical is known by.
— The manufacturer.
— Any hazardous ingredients.
• The MSDS also describes:
— The types of hazards that the chemical may present.
— First aid procedures for chemical exposures.
— Techniques for cleaning up spills.
• To help you work with the chemical safely, the MSDS also contains information about:
— How to handle and store the chemical properly.
— What types of exposure controls and Personal Protective Equipment(PPE) should be used for protection.
• MSDS's can come in different formats, but they all contain the same information.
— Become familiar with the MSDS before working with a potentially hazardous material.
— The few minutes this takes could prevent serious problems in an emergency.
• Another place to look for "Right-To-Know" information is on a chemical's container label. The label will provide:
— The material's name and potential health, fire and reactivity hazards.
— Specific precautions to take, or situations to avoid, when working with the chemical.
— What PPE to wear when handling the chemical.
• Like MSDS's, all labels do not present information in the same way. They can:
— Be written.
— Use shapes, numbers or letters as warnings.
— Use "symbols" or "pictures" to represent hazards or the required PPE.
• Whichever labeling system that your facility uses, read the label carefully before working with any chemical.
— If a chemical is transferred to another container, make sure that the "secondary" container is also labeled properly.
• Another place where information about hazardous chemicals is located is your facility's Hazard Communication Program.
— It lists the hazardous materials present in your workplace.
— Other important information is also given.
• There are some technical terms which are used in communicating hazard information that you need to understand.
• The "Duration of Exposure" is the time that you are exposed to a substance.
— For example, the time between spilling a chemical on your arm and when you wash it off.
— This type of spill would be referred to as a "Short- term Exposure.
• "Short-Term Exposure" to some hazards can cause sudden reactions or "Acute Effects" such as a rash or a burn.
— In most cases, short-term exposure will cause no long-term health problems.
• "Long-Term Exposure" to some hazardous chemicals can cause long-term... or "Chronic"... health effects.
— For example, the chronic effect of smoking for many years might be emphysema or lung cancer.
• The "Dose" (amount) of the substance that you are exposed to is also important when determining possible health effects.
— The larger the Dose, the more serious your reaction may be.
• "Routes of Entry" are the ways that a substance can get into your body. These include:
— Skin contact.
• Solids, liquids and gases can all be absorbed through the skin.
— Liquids pose the biggest threat because they are most easily absorbed.
• "Inhalation" is when a hazardous substance is breathed in. Substances that can be easily inhaled include:
• The third Route of Entry is "Ingestion" (swallowing). This happens when:
— Food contaminated with a hazardous material is eaten.
— A material is transferred to your mouth or face (with your hands).
• Remember that the effects of exposure depend upon both the "Dose" and the "Duration of Exposure".
— If these are low enough, a hazardous material may cause no negative health effects at all.
• Government agencies have set limits for how much of any substance you can be exposed to safely. These limits are called:
— "Threshold Limit Value"(TLV).
— "Permissible Exposure Limit"(PEL).
— TLVs and PELs are listed on a chemical's MSDS.
• Hazardous chemicals have been grouped into classes, based on:
— The hazards they present.
— The safety precautions needed when working with them.
• Unlike many other chemicals, "Toxic Substances" have the potential to disrupt physical processes such as:
— Other bodily functions.
• Toxic materials can often be found around the home... as well as in the workplace. They include:
• Toxic gases include the fumes produced when heating, burning or welding some metals.
• "Poisons" are considered toxic substances.
— A Poison can cause serious illness or death, even with a very small dose.
— There are very few true Poisons.
— Their use in the workplace is limited.
• Remember that not all toxic substances are poisonous.
— Most are not harmful in small amounts.
— The danger lies in larger doses and longer durations.
• "Corrosives and Irritants" are two types of chemicals commonly found in many facilities.
— Corrosives can cause serious, even permanent, damage to any part of the body coming into contact with the chemical.
• Most "Acids" are considered corrosive substances. Sulfuric Acid is one of the most widely used Corrosives, and can be found in:
— Petroleum processing.
— Automobile batteries.
• Many "Bases" are also Corrosives, such as Caustic Soda, which is commonly used in:
— Water treatment plants.
• Skin contact with corrosive substances can cause redness, swelling, blisters and even severe burns.
— Contact with the eyes can result in permanent eye damage, even blindness.
• Inhaling corrosive chemicals can seriously damage the delicate tissues of the:
• Swallowing Corrosives ("Ingestion") is rare in the workplace, but can result in:
— Extreme pain.
— Severe internal injuries.
• "Irritants" are often diluted forms of corrosive substances, and include:
• Other Irritants are by-products generated during combustion.
— Such as nitrogen dioxide found in automobile exhaust.
• Irritants generally cause only minor, temporary inflammation or swelling at the point of contact.
• "Flammables and Combustibles" are another common group of hazardous chemicals, which include:
• The key in determining whether a chemical is Flammable or Combustible is its "Flashpoint".
— This is the temperature at which the chemical releases vapors that can burn.
— It is not the liquid that burns, but the vapor.
• Liquids that have a flashpoint of less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit are considered Flammable.
— Gasoline, for example, has a flashpoint of -45 degrees, almost always giving off vapors which can ignite.
• A combustible liquid must have a flashpoint between 100 degrees and 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
— Combustibles are easier to control because they have to be heated before they will produce burnable vapors.
• Liquid fuels are not the only Flammables and Combustibles we have to watch out for.
— Smoking near an open can of paint or a bottle of rubbing alcohol could cause a fire.
— These and other materials can also ignite easily.
• "Flammable Gases" come with their own unique set of hazards, and include:
• Most gases are usually stored in compressed gas cylinders.
— The pressure inside these containers is enormous.
— The rupture or heating of a cylinder or valve can result in a sudden, violent release of pressure.
— The cylinder or valve could even become a flying projectile.
• Another group of hazardous chemicals which we need to be aware of are "Carcinogens and Suspected Carcinogens".
— These chemicals are often linked to cancer.
— Normal cells in the human body follow a pattern to reproduce and grow.
— Carcinogens disrupt this pattern, causing cells to grow abnormally, which is why cancer is often fatal.
• Although Carcinogens can affect nearly all areas of the body, they most frequently "target" specific organs, such as the:
— Reproductive system.
• Unfortunately there are not usually any immediate symptoms of exposure to these substances.
— This is why it is extremely important to know about any Carcinogen you may encounter.
• One Carcinogen that has received a lot of attention is Asbestos. At one time, Asbestos was used in:
— Pipe insulation.
— Floor tiles.
— Automotive brake and clutch linings.
• When inhaled, microscopic Asbestos fibers can damage the lungs... and eventually cause cancer.
• "Suspected Carcinogens" are commonly believed to increase the chance of getting cancer.
— Unlike confirmed Carcinogens, no direct link has been established.
• Examples of "Suspected Carcinogens" include
— Carbon Tetrachloride.
• There is more to preventing cancer than simply avoiding exposure to Carcinogens.
— Other "Risk Factors" affect the chances of getting cancer.
— For instance, smoking increases the chances of getting cancer by tens or even hundreds of times.
— Quitting is the biggest step in preventing cancer.
• Another potential workplace hazard is "Radiation".
— Radiation is not usually associated with chemicals.
— But it can cause serious damage to the body's cells and tissues.
• Radiation hazards include:
— Infrared Radiation.
— Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation.
— Gamma Rays.
• If you work around Radiation hazards, you will need to take steps to protect yourself.
— Talk to your supervisor to find out more about any Radiation hazards in your workplace.
• Hazard Communication goes beyond simply exercising your "Right To Know".
— You must act on what you have learned about potential hazards on the job.
• Protection begins with selecting and using the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment, such as:
— Face shields.
— Acid suits.
• "Respiratory Protection" is especially important when working around many hazardous materials.
— There are many different types of respirators.
— It is vital to use the right kind for the job.
— Make sure your respirator fits properly.
• When storing hazardous chemicals, a number of other things must be considered, such as:
— Ventilation (in case of fumes).
— Lighting (for reading labels).
— Identification of storage locations.
— Strong, stable shelving.
— Safe and easy access.
• Small quantities of Flammables or Combustibles should be stored in U.L. approved cans with spring-loaded caps.
— These contain vapors and prevent spills.
— Larger quantities of Flammable materials need to be stored in a Flammable Materials Cabinet.
• Compressed gas cylinders have special storage considerations as well.
— They must be stored upright, with a safety cap over the valve.
— A safety chain or bracket is required to prevent the cylinder from falling over.
• In "Exposure Situations", you need to act quickly to minimize the damage from hazardous materials.
— Always know the nearest location of running water (water is usually the first line of defense against chemical injuries).
— For small chemical splashes, immerse the effected area in running water for at least 15 minutes.
— For larger exposures, get to a Safety Shower quickly.
— Remove contaminated clothing and stay in the shower stream for at least 15 minutes.
• Getting chemicals in your eyes can cause severe damage. Get to an eye wash station immediately.
— Keep you eyes open and flush them for at least 15 minutes.
• Inhaling hazardous materials can be dangerous, even deadly.
— If someone is overcome by fumes, get them out of the area and into fresh air.
— Check the Container Label or MSDS to see if immediate medical attention is needed.
• Swallowing a hazardous substance is extremely dangerous.
— Consult the MSDS immediately.
— It may be necessary to dilute the chemical with water or milk, or induce vomiting.
— In some cases, however, vomiting may cause more damage.
• Seek medical attention after any exposure to a hazardous material, no matter how minor.
— Some chemicals have delayed or long-term effects.
— Supply medical personnel with the chemical's MSDS.
• In the event of a leak or a spill of a hazardous chemical, you must act quickly.
— The first concern is people's health and safety.
— Tend to injuries immediately.
— Evacuate the area if necessary.
— Notify appropriate personnel.
• If the spill is of a Flammable or Combustible substance, you should immediately remove sources of heat or ignition.
— But do not unplug machinery or equipment (this could cause sparks).
• If you are going to be involved in cleaning up a hazardous spill, make sure to use the proper PPE and cleanup equipment.
— Check the MSDS or your company's Hazard Communication Plan.
• First, work to contain the spill and minimize contamination.
— Create a barrier around the spill with an absorbent material.
— Use a cleanup kit, if available.
— In most cases you will need to absorb the spill with a neutral material.
• Spills of some substances require special procedures.
— For example, use non-sparking tools when cleaning up a Flammable.
• Hazardous materials can not just be thrown into the trash.
— Many chemicals are classified as Regulated Waste.
— They must be removed by licensed disposal companies.
— Check with your supervisor or your facility's safety manager.
• OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard and other "Right-To-Know" laws are there to get us the information we need to work safely.
— But only you can take the necessary steps to protect yourself from hazardous chemicals.