The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) keeps a record of incidents and lessons learned. Workplace incidents and injuries involving chemical splashes and burns cause severe reactions and could lead to permanent damage. Reasons for such accidents include carrying chemicals in unsafe containers, broken equipment or incorrect procedures.
Many companies use aerosol cans every day but hate the high costs of hazardous waste disposal. They may choose to recycle their used or empty aerosol cans. In many cases, they’re unsure of how to empty the cans. They may even puncture them with a screwdriver, draining out the remaining contents.
In August 2018, teachers and staff at a middle school in Norfolk, MA, were preparing for the start of the school year as the annual fire inspection took place. In a science classroom, the town building and fire department officials noticed a strange chemical odor coming from a chemical storage cabinet. The garlicy smell was due to a reaction that had occurred in a container of calcium carbide.
The mission of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) is to protect all workers from occupational hazards. AIHA volunteer groups work with OSHA to identify and educate on common hazards within specific industries. For instance, the Laboratory Health and Safety Committee reviews lab safety incidents.
Safety cabinets store flammable, corrosive or hazardous chemicals. They protect them from fire and keep them secure for controlled use. Both OSHA and the EPA require the use of original packaging or sealed containers for the chemicals inside your safety cabinet. But, even with these precautions organic chemical vapors may still be present.
Working with flammable, and combustible or corrosive liquids can be confusing and dangerous. To ensure a safe workplace, there are many regulations that apply to their storage, handling and dispensing. Besides the obvious safety risks, fires and explosions can also cause property damage, financial losses and environmental incidents.
Most people are familiar with static electricity. They’ve heard the crackling when removing clinging fabrics from the dryer, or they’ve felt a slight electric shock when touching a door knob or other metal object after walking across a carpeted floor. During the winter, or when the air is very dry, the effects of static electricity are more noticeable. But, did you know static discharge is also a major cause of industrial fires and explosions?
Slips and falls can be fatal in the workplace. In 2017, falls were the second highest cause of occupational death according to the U.S. Department of Labor. They accounted for 887 fatalities on the job. An estimated 25 percent of all disability claims per year, amounting to more than $25 billion, result from falls.
Justrite flammable safety cans include many features to prevent fires or injuries when working with flammable liquids. Automatic positive pressure relief vents between 3 and 5 psi to relieve pressure and avoid an explosion. Flame arresters dissipate heat to stop flashback ignition. Type II safety cans include hoses to make it easy to pour into narrow openings, reducing the chance of spillage.
Due to the nature of academic work and research, labs often generate many types of hazardous wastes. Volumes for each experiment are normally small. But, there are many individual points of chemical waste generation in an academic institution. Annual student turnover in campus labs makes difficult to maintain a high level of training and accountability.