Unknown Chemicals = Unknown Hazards

A critical element in the safe handling, storage and use of chemicals is first identifying those that are present in your work center.  Unfortunately, our teams are finding containers and spray bottles with unidentifiable liquids present without proper labeling.  This puts staff at risk as they do not know the proper PPE, spill procedures, disposal and exposure procedures to follow.  We have observed chemicals in facilities ranging from simple disinfectants to highly caustic grout cleaners and highly toxic insecticides.  Each has its own specific handling requirements based on the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) that is required to be on hand for reference.

Per OSHA  Hazard Communication Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200 (HCS):   All labels are required to have pictograms, a signal word, hazard and precautionary statements, the product identifier, and supplier identification.  However, if a staff member transfers hazardous chemicals from a labeled container to a portable container that is only intended for immediate use by the employee who performs the transfer, no labels are required for the portable container.  Where we see vulnerabilities is when there is a transfer to a spray bottle or other container and there is no immediate use or the use has passed and the container is in storage without labeling.  Organizations can use their own labeling system provided it meets the OSHA requirements as stated earlier.

For more details on hazardous communication and labeling of chemicals, see:  https://www.osha.gov/sites/default/files/publications/OSHA3636.pdf

Please contact us for questions or more information at  704-573-4535 or info@courtemanche-assocs.com.

Courtemanche & Associates specializes in Healthcare Accreditation and Regulatory Compliance Consulting Services. With over 30 years of being in business and 100+ years of healthcare experience amongst our consulting team, we are ready to assist with your accreditation and regulatory compliance needs.

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