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Hazardous Chemical Exposure


This checklist is not all-inclusive. You should add to it or delete items that do not apply to your business; however, carefully consider each item and make your decision. You should refer to Minnesota statutes and rules, and federal OSHA standards adopted by reference in Minnesota for specific guidance that may apply to your work situation (see www.dli.mn.gov/). (Note: This checklist is typical for general industry but not for construction or maritime industries.)
  • Are employees aware of the potential hazards and trained in safe handling practices for situations involving various chemicals stored or used in the workplace such as acids, bases, caustics, epoxies, phenols, etc.?
  • Is employee exposure to chemicals kept within acceptable levels?
  • Are eye-wash fountains and safety showers provided in areas where corrosive chemicals are handled?
  • Are all containers, such as vats, storage tanks, etc., labeled as to their contents, e.g., "CAUSTICS"?
  • Are all employees required to use personal protective clothing and equipment when handling chemicals (gloves, eye protection, respirators, etc.)?
  • Are flammable or toxic chemicals kept in closed containers when not in use?
  • Are chemical piping systems clearly marked as to their content?
  • Where corrosive liquids are frequently handled in open containers or drawn from storage vessels or pipelines, are adequate means readily available for neutralizing or disposing of spills or overflows and performed properly and safely?
  • Are standard operating procedures established and are they being followed when cleaning up chemical spills?
  • Are respirators stored in a convenient, clean and sanitary location, and are they adequate for emergencies?
  • Are employees prohibited from eating in areas where hazardous chemicals are present?
  • Is PPE used and maintained whenever necessary?
  • Are there written standard operating procedures for the selection and use of respirators where needed?
  • If you have a respirator protection program, are your employees instructed on the correct usage and limitations of the respirators? Are the respirators National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)- approved for this particular application? Are they regularly inspected, cleaned, sanitized and maintained?
  • If hazardous substances are used in your processes, do you have a medical or biological monitoring system in operation?
  • Are you familiar with the threshold limit values or permissible exposure limits of airborne contaminants and physical agents used in your workplace?
  • Have appropriate control procedures been instituted for hazardous materials, including safe handling practices and the use of respirators and ventilation systems?
  • Whenever possible, are hazardous substances handled in properly designed and exhausted booths or similar locations?
  • Do you use general dilution or local exhaust ventilation systems to control dusts, vapors, gases, fumes, smoke, solvents, or mists that may be generated in your workplace?
  • Is operational ventilation equipment provided for removal of contaminants from production grinding, buffing, spray painting, and/or vapor degreasing?
  • Do employees complain about dizziness, headaches, nausea, irritation, or other factors of discomfort when they use solvents or other chemicals?
  • Is there a dermatitis problem? Do employees complain about dryness, irritation, or sensitization of the skin?
  • Have you considered having an industrial hygienist or environmental health specialist evaluate your operation?
  • If internal combustion engines are used, is carbon monoxide kept within acceptable levels?
  • Is vacuuming used rather than blowing or sweeping dust whenever possible for cleanup?
  • Are materials that give off toxic, asphyxiant, suffocating, or anesthetic fumes stored in remote or isolated locations when not in use?
Source: Federal OSHA