Emergency Response to Hazardous Materials Incidents for Small Business -October 2010

Monthly Round Up of Important Ideas and Standards in
Industrial Hygiene and Safety 

October 2010

IN THIS ISSUE: Emergency Response to Hazardous Materials Incidents for Small Business

Responding to hazardous materials emergencies is important to the safety and success of a business, no matter the size of the company. The first step is to take action to prevent incidents.  The next step is to make a hazardous materials response plan that should be integrated into the business’s overall emergency plan.

“Many small businesses use hazardous materials everyday,” explains Gary R. Ticker, CIH, CSP, of OccuSafe, Inc. “Without effective action, uncontrolled incidents can cause serious injury and even affect the viability of the business.”

Take action to prevent hazardous materials incidents by following these steps:

  • GATHER INFORMATION.  Determine which hazardous materials used on site – both by employees and outside contractors – are hazardous.  Refer to MSDS sheets, manufacturer information, the fire department, internal and external expertise, and online resources to make that determination.
    CONDUCT AN AUDIT.  Once hazardous materials are identified, check to see that all controls are adequate and effective.
    MAKE A TRADE.  Find out about substituting a hazardous material for something less volatile.  For example, substitute an amine in place of a chlorine-based paint stripper.
  • KEEP SUPPLIES LOW.  If your processes require hazardous materials, order materials in smaller quantities to keep less onsite at one time.
    UTILIZE CONTROL TECHNOLOGIES.  Research and identify most effective and up-to-date control technologies that are available. Keep in mind that preventing an emergency is far easier that responding to one on the job.

“When creating a hazardous materials response plan, OSHA’s website is the best place to start,” explains Ticker. “The requirements outlined in the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response* should be integrated into a comprehensive emergency plan.”

Some of the key requirements include of OSHA’s plan include:

  • EMERGENCY RESPONSE.  All employees likely to witness or discover a hazardous substance release must be trained to initiate an emergency response by notifying the proper authorities of the release. This includes, but is not limited to, calling local emergency services, and keeping personnel away from the spill site.
  • CLEAN-UP.  Employees who work in the immediate area may clean up a small spill if it is part of their regular job, have on hand spill response equipment and PPE, and have been trained.
  • HAZMAT TEAM.  If emergency personnel are needed from outside of the area, further training, formation of a hazmat team that can require 40 hour training, regular drills, specialized equipment and PPE, testing instrumentation, written procedures, medical monitoring, use of the incident command system, and coordination with outside authorities may be needed.

For more information on this topic and to discuss your company’s safety and industrial hygiene needs call OccuSafe at (214) 662-6005 or (303) 219-6973 or visit us at www.occusafeinc.com.

*The complete standard 1910.120 is available at the United States Department of Labor’s site: http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=standards&p_id=9765

OccuSafe Industrial Hygiene & Safety, Inc. provides skills and expertise to recognize, evaluate and control hazards and injuries in the areas of industrial hygiene, occupational safety and health. OccuSafe services companies of all sizes in a range of industries.

This newsletter is published monthly by OccuSafe Industrial Hygiene & Safety, Inc.   Feel free to forward it to friends and colleagues.

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