April 2016 Safety Topic: Chemical Safety
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) over 30 million American workers are exposed to hazardous chemicals in their workplaces. While all containers of hazardous chemicals must be clearly labeled, there may be problems, especially if a label is impossible to read. While management has a responsibility to inform employees of significant chemical hazards, employees have the right to know about such dangers.
Protect yourself from chemical hazards
Read warning labels and safety data sheets (SDSs). SDSs provide comprehensive information about a substance or mixture that is used in the workplace. They are used as a source of information about hazards and help you obtain advice on safety precautions when working with chemicals.
Hazard Communication training helps you to work safely with chemicals:
- You have the right to know what chemicals are present in the workplace;
- you have the right to know the hazards they present;
- you have the right to know how to work safely with chemicals; and
- you have the right to know how to protect yourself.
You also have the duty to know
- Where hazardous chemicals are present;
- the physical and health hazards of the chemicals in your work area;
- how to protect yourself from those hazards; and
- methods used to detect the presence or release of hazardous chemicals in ways that could be dangerous to you.
Always remember to read warning labels; they are there for your protection. Download the Chemical Safety flyer to display in your work space and share with your colleagues. For more detailed information, speak to your supervisor, refer to the chemical's Safety Data Sheet (SDS) and follow safe workplace practices.