OSHA's Complete Definition of a Hazardous Material

Posted On: March 1, 2018
OSHA's Complete Definition of A Hazardous Material
According to the Superfund Amendments Reauthorization Act of ’96 (SARA), OSHA issues safety regulations which protect workers involved in hazardous waste operations. OSHA’s HAZWOPER or Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response standards create health and safety standards for workers who are involved in practices, procedures, and operations that deal with hazardous material. According to OSHA, a hazardous substance is any biological and disease-ridden agent that can cause harm to the environment and human life with exposure (via inhalation, ingestion or assimilation). Exposure to those substances can lead to death, disease, behavioral issues, mutations, physical deformities, and cancer. Families that are affected by these substances through workers exposed to these substances are also at risk.

According to HAZWOPER standards, specific work policies and procedures that can safeguard workers from toxic materials must be in place. Click To Tweet

According to HAZWOPER standards, specific work policies and procedures that can safeguard workers from toxic materials must be in place. Employers can use those standards to get the information and training criteria they need to ensure the health and safety of workers who handle those substances. HAZWOPER’s aim is to reduce workplace injuries and conditions that can be caused with exposure to hazardous substances.

OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard

OSHA’s Hazcom standard is designed to ensure both employers and employees are protected from chemical exposure and the conditions it can cause. It does this by providing relevant information that can help them analyze, determine, forecast, and control chemical hazards and take appropriate actions against them. This data is provided through a SDS, or Safety Data Sheet, along with appropriate training and labels. The information in the sheets must be accurate and complete to meet safety compliances. This includes information about hazards that are the result of specific chemicals. Exposure to hazardous chemicals and substances can lead to a wide range of conditions that can either be acute or chronic depending on severity. These range from mild to severe skin irritation, chemical burns, sensitization, and other conditions that can prove fatal. In addition, the release of these hazardous chemicals can cause fires or explosions that can damage property and cause serious injuries. According to OSHA, employers are responsible for ensuring that their workers have the resources and knowledge they need to prevent accidents/injuries. This includes providing them PPE or personal protective equipment that is specific to the work they are responsible for. In addition, employees must also be protected during recovery operations for hazardous waste and materials.

Hazard Determination

Hazard determination pertains to the examination of existing scientific evidence that can help in the determination of chemical hazards. This includes physical dangers such as reactive elements and health hazards such as sensitization. This info provides relevant data that can be used in the SDS, labels, and safety training for employees. Contrary to popular belief, there is a difference between risks and hazards. A hazard, for instance, refers to material or property that can cause an adverse reaction or effect. Risk refers to the likelihood of that effect manifesting along with conditions associated with it. However, certain hazardous materials can cause different conditions depending on how they are stored, handled, treated, disposed, and which personal protective equipment is used to handle them along with other conditions that can lead to exposure.

 360Training’s HAZWOPER Training course

The HAZWOPER training course is designed under OSHA 29 CFR standards and is meant for employers and employees who work with or are exposed to hazardous waste materials. This includes the storage, treatment, handling, and disposal of those substances. The course teaches students how to regulate operations for their own safety, and how to perform emergency treatment. Students can opt for the HAZWOPER 40-hour, the 24-hour course, and the 8-hour Annual Refresher. Please keep in mind that you must complete the 40 or 24-hour course if you want to take the refresher course. Working with hazardous waste can be life threatening to workers and employers if proper safety precautions are not set in place. One wrong move or slip-up can lead to death or debilitating conditions. 360Training’s HAZWOPER training course can help you determine threats before it is too late. Sign up for a course today!

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