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Chemical Safety

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.

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Methylene Chloride: Protecting Exposed Workers

Yesterday we looked at the hazards of methylene chloride, a common paint-stripping chemical with many industrial uses—and many hazards, including cancer. Today, let’s talk about how to protect workers from exposure to this narcotic, corrosive, carcinogenic chemical.

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Stripping Away the Hazards of Methylene Chloride

Methylene chloride (also called dichloromethane) is a solvent with many uses, including paint stripping, polyurethane foam manufacturing, and cleaning and degreasing. You might not think that a chemical you can buy at your local home improvement store for use at home would be all that dangerous, but don’t be fooled. Methylene chloride is hazardous enough that it is covered by one of OSHA’s substance-specific standards, 29 CFR 1910.1052.

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Your HAZWOPER Chain of Command Is Only As Strong As Its Weakest Link

Yesterday, we looked at the six essential elements of a HAZWOPER site analysis. Today, we’ll look at the requirements for site management and site control.

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Six Essential Components of HAZWOPER Site Analysis

If you’re in charge of a HAZWOPER site, there are site-related duties and responsibilities you need to be aware of. These include site characterization and analysis, establishing a chain of command, and site control.

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Gas Detection: Hydrogen Sulfide Hazards and Releases

Hydrogen sulfide, or sour gas, is a flammable, colorless gas that is toxic at extremely low concentrations. It is heavier than air, and may accumulate in low-lying areas. It smells like “rotten eggs” at low concentrations and causes workers to quickly lose their sense of smell.

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Gas Detection: Special Precautions for Hydrogen Sulfide

Hydrogen sulfide gas is very corrosive and therefore extremely hazardous. You need to take special precautions when choosing equipment and establishing safe work procedures.

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Common HazCom Mistakes and Tips for Compliance

Hazard communication often figures prominently on OSHA’s annual Top 10 Violations list. Find out why so many employers fall short of HazCom requirements.

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Responding to Chemical Spills: First Critical Actions

Taking immediate action after a chemical spill has been identified can prevent worker injuries and environmental damage.

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Facts about OSHA’s Lab Standard and Chemical Hygiene Plans

Yesterday, we describe eight elements that must be included in chemical hygiene plans. Today, we review more facts about the plans required under OSHA’s lab standard.

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8 Elements of a Chemical Hygiene Plan

If you’re required to have a chemical hygiene, make sure it contains these elements.

Since 1990, OSHA has required facilities engaged in the use of chemicals in a laboratory to develop and implement a written chemical hygiene plan (CHP). OSHA requires these facilities to set forth procedures, equipment, PPE, work practices, training, and policies to help protect employees from the health hazards presented by hazardous chemicals used in their workplace.

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