Most industries handle some sort of hazardous materials throughout the work day. If this applies to you and your industry, these materials must be handled properly for the safety of everyone around you. Make sure all hazardous materials are handled, stored, and disposed of properly.
Types of Hazardous Materials
There are four types of hazardous materials:
- Flammable. A material is labeled flammable if the flash point is below 140 degrees.
- Corrosive. Corrosive materials are materials with a capability of eating through metal and other storage containers.
- Reactive. Reactive materials are materials that could potentially explode if not handled properly.
- Toxic. Toxic materials can make people sick if they are ingested.
Handling/ Storing Hazardous Materials
Working with hazardous materials requires specific precautions to ensure that employees, the building, and the environment remain safe. There are a number of ways to ensure this safety when working with hazardous materials:
- Follow your training exactly.
- Label items properly. Any container that doesn't have a label should be reported to a supervisor immediately. Do not handle materials if you do not know what they are.
- Use proper protective equipment. Tell your supervisor if proper equipment is not available.
- Store materials properly in well-ventilated areas.
- Wash your hands after handling hazardous waste.
- Learn what to do in case of an emergency.
Failing to properly dispose of hazardous chemicals can cost the factory owner up to $50,000 per day and could even lead to jail time. The improper disposal of hazardous waste can have some serious repercussions, including health problems, creating environmental hazards, and even causing fire and explosions.
Companies are labeled based on the amount of hazardous waste materials that they produce. The three categories are:
- Large quantity generator (LGG): companies that produce over 2200 lbs. of hazardous material per month. These companies are heavily regulated.
- Small quantity generator( SQG): companies that produce 220 - 2200 lbs. of hazardous material per month. These companies are moderately regulated.
- Conditionally exempt small quantity generator (CESQG): companies that produce less than 220 lbs. of hazardous material a month. There is no need to regulate these companies.
Disposing of Hazardous Materials
To avoid penalty, you must dispose of any hazardous materials properly. Call an industrial sanitation company, such as Powell's Trash Service, to pick up your waste on a regular basis. Make sure to use a company familiar with federal regulations for waste disposal. You can also recycle the materials yourself or drop off the materials at a facility that handles these sensitive substances.