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Safety Month Continued: The Dangers of Handling Chemicals [INFOGRAPHIC]

We hear the stories too often: someone improperly mixes cleaning chemicals, which leads to a strange odor. Everyone evacuates the building. People are taken to the hospital for precautionary measures, but in a best-case-scenario, there’s no injury.

But in some cases, there are injuries. Like the chemical mixing incident where an Idaho woman drank iced tea mixed with a cleaning solution and nearly died.

The EPA reports that as many as 2.8 million people in the cleaning industry are exposed to potentially dangerous chemicals each day. And if their job requires that they handle chemicals, it’s up to the employer to make sure they know what they’re doing.

OSHA’s revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS 2012) requires organizations to provide training on the following:

  • Methods and observations to detect the presence or release of a hazardous chemical in the work area.
  • Measures employees can take to protect themselves from these hazards.
  • Details of the hazard communication program developed by the employer, including an explanation of the labels received on shipped containers and workplace labeling system, the SDS and how employees can use the appropriate hazard information.

While the new standard requires training when new personnel assigned to work in a specific area or when a new health or physical hazard is in place, employers can further reduce risk of an incident resulting from improper chemical handling by providing ongoing training and making sure key personnel have demonstrated their understanding of key handling protocols.

Handling chemicals can be extremely dangerous when people don’t know what they’re doing. We’ve put together an infographic to share at your next safety meeting so cleaners understand the potential risks and take the time to understand best practices for handling.

Our ‘Beyond Compliance’ Program Keeps KBM Facility Solutions Employees Safe

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by Nick Pangaro, KBM Facility Solutions 

Every employer has a duty to their employees to have them return home in the same condition as to which they reported to work. OSHA laws have been created to help companies do just that. Requirements of OSHA include companies having a written program, a document describing who is responsible for training employees on MSDS, documenting and tracking chemical inventory, having the MSDS available for employees to review in less than 10 minutes and an employee’s Right To Know Training.

KBMs use of  ManageMen’s (OS1)® cleaning process and its MSDS “Beyond Compliance” segment does just what is says; it goes beyond compliance and OSHA’s requirements. We start off with a Safety Yellow mounted wall box with binder. There is no mistaking where our MSDS materials and information are kept. Within the Binder can be found those items required by the OSHA standard, KBM’s written program, Employee’s Right To Know, MSDS, an inventory of hazardous chemicals and documents who is responsible for training.

We go beyond compliance with the additional items contained within the Beyond Compliance Binder. Items include:

  • A seven step introduction guiding the use of the binder and its contents.
  • A summary of the OSHA standard.
  • The MSDS are color coded to match the corresponding chemical and secondary use bottle. The daily use chemicals also have had the MSDS reformatted for an ease of use/read.
  • A glossary of terms found in MSDS is included in the binder.
  • We use silk screened secondary use bottles to avoid any labeling issues and the print color corresponds with the color of the chemical.
  • A ‘verification of training’ recognition pin and ID card is rewarded to each employee having successfully completed the MSDS program.
  • MSDS are all alphabetically organized within the binder.
  • Training log indicating employees having successfully completed the ManageMen (OS1) Beyond Compliance training.

The ‘Beyond Compliance’ Program helps ensure that KBM goes beyond being compliant, it highlights our commitment to PEOPLE ensuring our employees are safe. The program also allows us to provide our customers ease of mind when performing internal audits, safety inspections or an OSHA audit as they are current and immediately available for review.

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MSDS to SDS

Change is coming; a decision to modify the HCS (Hazard Communication Standard) to align with the GHS (Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals) has been adopted by OSHA to improve safety and health of workers through more effective communications on chemical hazards.

Employers will be required to have employees trained on the new label elements and safety data sheet (SDS) format by December 1, 2013. For more information and phase in dates go to:

http://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/hazcom-faq.html

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