Managing hazardous chemical risks in the workplace

By Lee Wendel, CSP, CSPHA, SFM Loss Prevention Technical Leader

We know you’re busy managing your teams and operations every day. This might include keeping workers safe from exposure to dangerous materials. One area that we know can present consistent challenges is the rigorous compliance standards for proper management of hazardous chemicals in the workplace.

OSHA reports that over 43 million American workers are exposed to hazardous chemicals on the job every year. From a regulatory compliance standpoint, the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (HazCom) can be difficult to manage without some help. We know that the effort is worth it because some of the injuries that we see from chemical exposure can be life-changing.

One recent example of such an incident came from a school district insured by SFM.

During the summer, an employee was cleaning lockers using a solvent designed to remove graffiti and other marks. The product’s label contained warnings about health hazards, but the employee did not adhere to them. The worker was wearing gloves but did not use the recommended ventilation or respiratory equipment. As a result of the exposure, this individual experienced dizziness, breathing difficulty and a body-wide tingling sensation — ultimately requiring hospitalization via ambulance.

To make such risks more manageable, SFM has identified a vendor that offers valuable tools that facilitate compliance with industrial hygiene standards. Through a partnership with SFM, Velocity EHS has made its MSDSonline product available to our policyholders at a discount.

Their solution includes:

  • Safety Data Sheet compliance
    The solution has an SDS database that is constantly updated, giving you confidence that you always have the most up-to-date information about the chemicals your teams use.
  • Right To Know compliance
    A solution is available that works across multiple platforms, including mobile devices, and provides 24/7 access to critical information.
  • Secondary container labels
    Simplifies the labeling process for each hazardous chemical that is dispensed into smaller containers. Labeling includes all required elements and pictograms including the PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) that must be worn while using the chemical.

If you are interested in learning more about MSDSonline, review the industrial hygiene listings on the safety products and vendors page.

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