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Working with Highly Hazardous Chemicals

F Marie Athey OHST

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F Marie Athey OHST | September 3, 2014 | Comments Off on Working with Highly Hazardous Chemicals

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) warn in the use of highly hazardous chemicals due to its instances in causing cancer, birth defects, stimulated genetic damage and miscarriage. Some small exposures can lead to serious injury or even death.

The OSHA standard Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 1910.119 state that for employers using, storing, manufacturing, handling, or moving highly hazardous chemicals onsite a process safety management plan is needed. The standard requires the prevention or minimizing of the consequences of catastrophic releases of toxic, reactive, flammable, or explosive chemicals. These releases may have outcomes in toxic, fire or explosion hazards.

Some disasters have occurred in 1984 Bhopal, India, which resulted in more than 2,000 deaths. The October 1989 Phillips Petroleum Company, Pasadena, TX, incident concluded in 23 deaths and 132 injuries and the May 1991 IMC, Sterlington, LA, incident resulted in 8 deaths and 128 injuries.

The standard requires the following provisions:

Process Hazard Analysis

Compile process safety information in order to create a process hazard analysis (PHA). The PHA must include the following:protect workers from hazardous chemicals

  • Process hazards
  • To be able to recognize any past incidents that had a probability for disastrous consequences in the work site
  • Engineering and administrative controls
  • Effects of engineering and administrative controls failures
  • Facility setting
  • Human factors
  • Qualitative evaluation probable safety and health consequences on employees in the workplace if there is a failure of controls.

Written Operating Procedures

 Employers are required to develop and apply written operating procedures, based on the process safety information. It must be able to give precise instructions for safely conducting activities for each covered process.


According to OSHA the agency “believes that the implementation of an effective training program is one of the most important steps that an employer can take to enhance employee safety.” Employees may undertake OSHA 40 HAZWOPER online training that will highlight the specific safety and health hazards regarding hazardous chemicals , emergency operations and other safe work practices that apply to the worker’s job duties and responsibilities.

Some highly hazardous chemicals include Acetaldehyde, Boron Trifluoride, Chlorine Dioxide, Ketene and Liquid Sulfur Dioxide. For more information on the standard, visit OSHA’s process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals page here.

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