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Managing Hazardous Substances

The Don'ts of Managing Hazardous Substances:
- Improper packaging - Storing hazardous substances in drink bottles, for example, is never a good idea.
- Improper/absent labeling - even if a hazardous substance is stored correctly, improper labeling can lead to misuse, exposure and improper disposal.
- Unwise storage - hazardous substances should be stored far away from other substances with which they can react. Haphazard storage can create volatile chemical reactions.
- No MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) - not having an MSDS sheet in a time of emergency can lead to delayed or improper medical treatment.
- No plan to contain spills - In case of a hazardous spill or chemical reaction emergency, a plan must be in place to stop the threat to self, others and property.All the preparation in the world cannot prevent the occasional accident.But at least you can plan for how you are going to handle them.

The Do's of Managing Hazardous Substances:

- Have an MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) - this sheet outlines the volatility, composition and effects of various chemicals.In the even of exposure, healthcare professionals will need to have the MSDS sheet available to them so that they will know how the worker needs to be treated.MSDS needs to be recorded and displayed at all times.
- Proper hazardous waste disposal - make sure that hazardous waste is being disposed of appropriately and that containers carrying such waste are free of leaks or any other flaws.
- Proper labeling - Organizing chemicals according to their make can prevent personal injury and can promote proper storage and maintenance.
- Complete a risk assessment of the chemicals on property.Tighter security and greater protective measures should be taken in area where hazardous substance risk is high.
- Keep records of past encounters with hazardous substances.Lean from mistakes.Survey health changes among employees.Record keeping can bring to the surface data that would otherwise be forgotten or disregarded in the passing of time.
- New employees should be taught how to manage hazardous substances in their orientation and current employees should undergo periodic reminder courses.Not only does this help to educate workers, but it also keeps safety at the forefront of everyone's mind.Show that you care enough about employee safety to use company time and resources to properly train workers.

OSHA or The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is the federal agency that has been given the charge to enforce safety and healthy working conditions.Official legislation is available through the official OSHA website as well as in hard copy form and should be the driving force to use as a guideline when implementing company safety policies and procedures.

OSHA performs audits on businesses to ensure that operating procedures are safe and have the worker's well-being in mind.Non-compliance can not only lead to potential personal injury, but in an audit an un-safe environment can lead to a hefty fine.

Legislation for the management of hazardous substances is not in short supply.For example, the Health and Safety in Employment Act of 1992 (or the "HSE Act") summarizes the approach set out in the Approved Code of Practice for the Management of Substances Hazardous to Health in the Place of Work.Although rules and laws are many, ultimately they are all for our own good.

Occupational health is a serious matter that is on the minds of both workers and employers.Employers are required to have the means by which to provide medical treatment to workers if they are exposed to hazardous substances on the job.Naturally, it is the responsibility of the worker to abide by company safety policies and use general caution when working with potentially hazardous substances.

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