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Proper PPE? Be SURE It Is!

Posted by Shivi Kakar

Oct 5, 2012 11:20:57 AM

If you have a giant stack of the best Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), but don’t use it, or just as important, don’t use it properly, are you trying to become an OSHA statistic? Knowing how to protect yourself from occupational hazards is a critical part of your job.

A Real Life PPE Correction

A few years ago, I was taking my annual HazWOPER 8-Hour Refresher class and a fellow student shared his story about PPE.

Part of his job was to open and close valves that allowed aviation fuels to flow to pumps used to fill airplane fuel tanks. While conducting this task, he was often exposed to fuel vapors. After complaining about the headaches and dizziness that he was experiencing, his employer had him fit tested for a respirator. However, even with the proper-fitting respirator, he still had the same symptoms of overexposure.

Why didn’t the respirator control the exposure?  As a health and safety professional, the answer was obvious to me! I asked him, “What type of cartridge are you using?”

His reply, “I am using what was given to me.” Two days later he called me to tell me that he had been given HEPA filters – the WRONG cartridge for his petroleum vapors. Instead he should have been using organic vapor cartridges. Without correction, this COULD have been become a very dangerous problem – just because of the wrong cartridge in the right respirator!

Proper Protection:  Where Do You Start?

A perfect place to start understanding how to protect yourself is to know what you are dealing with on the job.

1)      What are the potential hazards? Is there more than one? Not sure? Ask questions! Make sure that you understand the hazards and risk before you are satisfied?

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Topics: OSHA, Personal Protective Equipment, General Industry H&S, General EHS, Construction H&S, H&S Training, worker safety, hazards, Lab Safety & Electrical, respirator, Exposure, Respiratory

OMB review of OSHA Hazard Communication Standard Update

Posted by Shivi Kakar

Jan 25, 2012 2:11:55 AM

The Office of Management and Budget received the final rule update for the Hazard Communication Standard (1910.1200) on 10/25/11.  The 90 day review period is over but the review period has been recently extended.  There is no notice of the length of the extension and it should be noted that OMB has had the OSHA proposed Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica Standard for nearly a year, since 2/14/11, and it is still listed as having an extended review period.

You can view the rule at HERE

One of the changes is the inclusion of an “Unclassified Hazards” category; a definition is provided below.  The U.S. Chemical Safety Board recently released a statement supporting the Unclassified Hazard category to allow for inclusion of combustible dust hazards on safety data sheets and labeling.

“Unclassified hazard” means a chemical for which there is scientific evidence identified during the classification process that it may pose an adverse physical or health effect when present in a workplace under normal conditions of use or in a foreseeable emergency, but the evidence does not currently meet the specified criteria for physical or health hazard classification in this section. This does not include adverse physical and health effects for which there is a hazard class addressed in this section.

It should also be noted that EPA began to make amendments in November of last year to regulations for the "Protection in the Workplace" (40 CFR 721.63) and "Hazard Communication Program" (40 CFR 721.72) components of the Significant New Uses of Chemical Substances regulations at 40 CFR 721 to align them with the GHS changes in the OSHA Hazard Communications Standard.
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Topics: Emilcott, OSHA, OSHA Compliance, EPA, hazards

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