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Safety Tips

Get a handle on hygiene

January 13, 2011

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Instituting industrial hygiene controls can help protect workers from exposure to toxic chemicals in the workplace. The National Safety Council advises employers to be aware of the specific hazards your worksite faces and the controls available to regulate them, and outlines the following basic methods of industrial hygiene controls:

  • Whenever possible, substitute a less harmful material for a dangerous one.
  • Alter processes to minimize worker contact with hazardous substances and fumes.
  • Isolate the work process or enclose the work space to reduce the number of workers exposed.
  • Wet down dust during operations and cleanup.
  • Use local ventilation at the point of contamination generation and dispersion of toxic chemicals. General or dilution ventilation can add clean air to provide a less contaminated atmosphere.
  • Ensure all workers are using proper personal protective equipment, including special clothing and eye and respiratory equipment.
  • Use special control methods for specific hazards, such as reduction of exposure time, monitoring devices and continuous sampling with preset alarms to detect intake of toxic materials.
  • Adhere to good housekeeping habits. Be sure the worksite has access to proper waste disposal, adequate washing and eating facilities, and potable drinking water.
  • Be sure all employees are well-trained and educated on the potential hazards present in the workplace. This training should include emergency response procedures.
  • Use medical surveillance programs to monitor employee health before, during and after work with hazardous substances.
  • Employees should be regularly monitored to ensure they are adhering to control requirements.

 

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