When the workplace regularly relies on regulated chemicals, safe handling is crucial to protect workers. All chemicals are classified for safety under the jurisdiction of federal state and local regulatory compliance.
In the U.S., these classifications are found at the U.S. Environmental Agency’s Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).
In addition, safety for regulated chemicals in the workplace can be found in Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) that provide CFR classification, procedures for working with and handling chemicals, compliance for use and storage, as well as safety precautions.
There are five safety tips for handling regulated chemicals in the workplace that employers and employees should consider. These include:
- New hire orientation programs detailing chemical exposure
- Provide a standard operating procedure manual (SOP)
- Hands on training programs in chemical handling procedures
- Provide safety gear and equipment for proper handling
- Management vigilance to ensure proper handling by employees
New Hire Orientation Programs
Employers should provide orientation programs to all newly hired employees before they begin handling of regulated chemicals. Employers should bear in mind that negligence in new hire orientation can result in liability issues.
Provide a Standard Operating Procedure Manual (SOP)
Regulated chemicals are those that may have risks involved in the normal course of handling in manufacturing facilities, laboratories and other businesses.
The volume of regulated chemicals in use and risks to workers using regulated chemicals such as alcohols, formaldehyde and chemicals classified as hazardous or toxic, should be outlined in a SOP according to specific types of workplace handling. SOPs are usually required under federal compliance for laboratories and chemical testing businesses.
Ammonia has numerous uses that include manufacture of plastics, textiles, water purification, explosives, pesticides, fertilizer, waste and wastewater treatment, as a refrigerant and food, beverages and pharmaceuticals.
Ammonia as a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen is liquid in form but may also be stored as a gaseous compound. At R.M. Technologies of America, anhydrous ammonia can be purchased for manufacturing projects as well as for agricultural use.
Hands on Training Programs in Chemical Handling Procedures
Although new hires may be provided with orientation for handling regulated chemicals in the workplace, they should also be provided with hands on training. It is also a good idea to offer annual refresher programs to existing employees.
Provide Safety Gear and Equipment
In order to ensure proper handling of regulated chemicals with utmost caution and vigilance, it is also required by the National Institute of Health and U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services that employees be provided with Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) such as safety goggles, Hazmat suits, booties and headgear as well as safety gloves.
All mechanical equipment in use with regulated chemicals should be properly maintained for maximum safety efficiency.
To ensure proper handling by employees during the course of each work day, management should maintain vigilance over workers and workplace procedures. Worker distractions and a negligent workplace environment contribute to accidents when workers handle regulated chemicals. Although there are many resources that help maintain a safe workplace, the five tips for safe handling of regulated chemicals in the workplace are guidelines to avoid worker accidents and liability to employers.
Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.