The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to establish a hazard communication program that provides workers with information on the hazards of the chemicals with which they work. This information is derived from labels on containers, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), and training programs.
Chemicals pose a myriad of hazards to exposed workers, from mild health effects, such as skin irritation, to injuries, such as rashes and burns, and to death, such as from poisoning. Some chemicals can pose physical hazards to workers by contributing to accidents, such as fires and explosions. The following list of questions can help guide supervisors and workers to ensure the exposure to hazardous substances is minimized.
|Is there a written hazard communication program dealing with MSDS, labeling, and employee training?|
|Does the program include an explanation on how to obtain and use a MSDS?|
|Does the program include an explanation of “Right to Know?”|
|Is a written copy of the program posted in the workplace for employee referral?|
|Are employees informed when and where hazardous substances may be present in their work areas?|
|Does the program include information on the physical and health hazards of the hazardous substances in the work area and specific protective measures that can be used?|
|Does the program include details of how to use the labeling system and MSDS?|
|Is there an employee training program for hazardous substances?|
|Is a list maintained of the hazardous substances used in the workplace?|
|Is there a MSDS readily available for each hazardous substance used?|
|Is each container for a hazardous substance (i.e., vats, bottles, storage tanks, etc.) labeled with product identification and a hazard warning (i.e., an explanation of the specific health and physical hazards)?|
|Are employees trained in how to recognize tasks that might result in occupational exposure to hazardous substances?|
|Are employees trained in how to use work practice, engineering controls, and personal protective equipment?|
|Are employees trained in how to identify their physical limitations?|
|Are employees trained in how to obtain information on the types, selection, proper use, and location of personal protective equipment?|
|Are employees trained in how to obtain information on removal, handling, decontamination, and disposal of personal protective equipment?|
|Are employees trained in who to contact and what to do in an emergency release of a hazardous substance?|
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