The federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) requires employers to provide a safe working environment for employees. In order to comply with OSHA, employers must learn their obligations.
OSHA expects businesses to consistently maintain a workplace free of hazards, particularly the hazards that they know or should know about. These are called “recognized hazards”, and can include anything from unsafe conditions (such as toxic fumes) to unsafe practices. If you’re aware of a hazard, it is your obligation to get rid of it. You also must use all reasonable means to search out and eliminate hazards. If hazardous waste disposal or management is part of your day-to-day business, this pertains to you.
It’s important to remember that you must follow OSHA’s rules for every worker in your business, regardless of the worker’s status or title. This means that the law covers managers, supervisors, officers, family members – even stockholders who work for you and your business.
The following is a list of OSHA requirements that demand compliance.
1.) Respiratory Protection
Employees required to use respirators should be thoroughly and routinely trained, especially in the following areas: use in emergency situations; proper maintenance and storage; any medical signs that might limit effectiveness; and the effects of improper fit, use, and/or maintenance.
2.) Process Safety Management
Employees that are directly involved in operating a process should be trained in the process, including process-specific safety and health hazards, safe work practices, and emergency operation.
3.) Fire Extinguishers
Any employees with permission to utilize portable extinguishers need to be trained upon initial assignment in fire extinguisher usage and its hazards.
4.) Hazard Communication
Employees that are regularly exposed or even potentially exposed to hazardous chemicals should be trained upon initial assignment on protective measures, the hazards of chemicals in work areas, and the methods used to detect chemical presences.
Employees involved in Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) operations, and emergency response should receive exhaustive training – and that training should be specific to their assignment.
6.) Emergency Response
Employees that fill the role of emergency responders should be trained according to task, and that training should cover an emergency response plan, chosen procedures for handling emergency incidents, personal protective equipment, and standard operating procedures.
7.) Emergency Action Plan
Employees should be trained to assist in an orderly evacuation of other employees.
8.) Liquefied Petroleum Gas
Employees assigned to perform maintenance, removal, installation, and operation work should be carefully trained for each specific task.
9.) Personal Protective Equipment
Before employees are allowed to perform work that necessitates personal protective equipment, training must be carried out – and employees must demonstrate a strong and clear understanding of that training.
These safety standards can be complicated, especially when hazardous waste disposal is involved, but you can always find additional information about your state’s laws and resources on the U.S. Department of Labor’s website, at www.osha.gov (look for State Occupational Safety and Health Plans). Check out it’s Compliance Assistance section – you will find fact sheets, booklets, Expert Advisors, eTools, and Safety and Health Topics pages.
Need help making sure that you and your business fulfills all of your OSHA requirements? Providing you with expert information is just one of the ways Hazardous Waste Experts can help you with your OSHA Compliance. We can also advise you on your specific situation. We deal with these issues everyday. Contact us today or call 877.200.2029.