ehs wire



blog horizontal banner

Environmental Health and Safety Blog | EHSWire

Want a New Facility in Compliance with EHS Regulations and Accepted Practices?

Posted by Shivi Kakar

Apr 7, 2009 9:58:22 AM

Get an EHS Design Expert at the Table!
Paula Kaufmann - CIH

I recently read an article titled “Implementing Safety during Design: a Case Study” in the March 2009 edition of AIHA publication, The Synergist. The authors discuss how incorporating safety systems or measures in the design phase of a construction project can result in large cost savings for the overall project budget. Studies have shown that implementing safety during the planning phases of a project, compared with after construction costs, have a 1:10,000 ratio. This equates to $1 pre-construction costs versus $10,000 post-construction abatement. The authors focus on safety concerns following the guidelines established by The Institute for Safety through Design (established in 1995 by the National Safety Council's Business and Industry Division).

As an industrial hygienist, I have often been frustrated when working on remedies for minimizing exposure to chemicals, immediate safety concerns, chemical storage and waste handling concerns after the occupancy of new laboratory facilities. Construction design planners rely heavily on architects that create beautiful layouts, but often fail to incorporate the fire safety, hazardous material handling and life safety issues that are detailed in NFPA 45: Standard on Fire Protection for Laboratories Using Chemicals and NFPA 101: Life Safety Code®. The design planners and architects frequently look to the local fire department or permit authorities to approve the plans. These groups may be well versed in commercial building codes, but often are not experts in the potential hazards present in a laboratory operation. The costs of retrofitting a new facility to meet NFPA guidelines and OSHA standards can be staggering. The “take away” is to get an EHS professional involved in the upstream design process. Often cost of another “expert” is discouraged by the planners. Then again, studies (and our experiences) have shown that not getting the right experts at the planning table can be “penny wise but pound foolish”.

Topics: OSHA, health and safety, General Industry H&S, EPA, H&S Training, Hazardous Materials, Compliance, Occupational Safety, TSCA & R.E.A.C.H., TSCA, Lab Safety & Electrical, Fire Safety, R.E.A.C.H.

Subscribe to!


Latest Posts

Posts by category