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Eye Safety & Safety Glasses (Jan/Feb-24)
Protecting Employees When Performing Machine Operations (Nov/Dec-23)
Protecting Students from Machine Hazards (Jul/Aug-23)
Electrical Safety (May/Jun-23)
Machine Guarding (Jan/Feb-23)
Have We Learned Anything About Safety Over the Last Fifty Years? (Nov/Dec-22)
OSHA Annouces 2021 Top 10 Frequently Cited Standards (Sep/Oct-22)
Have You Conducted Your Periodic Lockout & Tagout Audit? (Jan/Feb-22)
Workplace Violence (Jul/Aug-21)
Do You or Your Supervisors Really Care About Worker Safety? (May/Jun-21)
Creating A Safety Culture (Nov/Dec-20)
Before You Purchase New Machinery (Sep/Oct-20)
Do You or Your Supervisors Really Care About Worker Safety? (May/Jun-20)
OSHA Issues Interim Guidance to Help Prevent Worker Exposure to Coronavirus (COVID-19) (Mar/Apr-20)
Have You Recently Conducted Your Required Safety & Health Program Audits? (Nov/Dec-19)
Does OSHA Cite Employers Equally? (May/Jun-19)
Are You Ready For The New Year? (Mar/Apr-19)
Creating a Safety Culture Means Staying Informed (Nov/Dec-18)
Safe Lifting Techniques (Sep/Oct-18)
Are Your Machines Safe to Operate? (Jul/Aug-18)
Do You Know How Old Your Tires Really Are? (Jan/Feb-18)
Risk Assessment & Premise Liability Insurance (Nov/Dec-17)
Forklift Safety – You Can Save A Life Today (Sep/Oct-17)
Protect Your Employees from Heat Stress Related Injuries (Jul/Aug-17)
Lockout-Tagout from a Manager’s Perspective (May/Jun-17)
Do Your Employees Really Know How to Use Personal Protective Equipment? (Mar/Apr-17)
OSHA & Lockout/Tagout (Nov/Dec-16)
OSHA Increases Their Penalties Towards Employers (Jul/Aug-16)
Do You Know What Your Experience Modification Rate Is? (May/Jun-16)
Machine Safety (Sep/Oct-15)
Lockout, Tagout & Tryout – Are You in Compliance? (Jul/Aug-15)
Forklift Safety Practices (May/Jun-15)
Using the Right Power Saw to Cut Plastic Materials (Mar/Apr-15)
OSHA & Machine Safeguarding (Jan/Feb-15)
Ergonomics (Sep/Oct-14)
Respiratory Protection . . . Does Your Program Protect? (May/Jun-14)
First Aid Program (Mar/Apr-14)
Working with Composite Materials Safely and Preventing Dermatitis (Jan/Feb-14)
Preventing Winter Slips, Trips and Falls (Nov/Dec-13)
The Globally Harmonized System for Hazard Communication – Are You Ready For It? (Sep/Oct-13)
Safety & New Employee Orientation (Jul/Aug-13)
Liquefied Petroleum Gas Safety (May/Jun-13)
Posting of OSHA Notices (Jan/Feb-13)
Staying Safe This Winter (Nov/Dec-12)
Personal Protection - Storage, Maintenance and Care (Sep/Oct-12)
Machine Safeguarding (Jul/Aug-12)
Is Your Lockout & Tagout Program Working? (May/Jun-12)
Getting Familiar with OSHA (Mar/Apr-12)
Is Your Piping Systems Properly Marked? (Jan/Feb-12)
Accident Prevention, Does Your Company Have An Effective Program? (Nov/Dec-11)
Defining FR – Flame Resistant Fabrics (Jul/Aug-11)
OSHA's Flammable & Combustible Liquids (May/Jun-11)
Safety & Health Program Check-up (Jan/Feb-11)
OSHA Is My Friend (Nov/Dec-10)
OSHA Standard for Control of Hazardous Energy Sources? (Sep/Oct-10)
Lockout/Tagout Program (Jul/Aug-10)
Safe Handling of Compressed Gas Cylinders (May/Jun-10)
What You Should Know about OSHA and Plastic Working Machinery (Mar/Apr-10)
Fasten Those Forklift Seat Belts (Jan/Feb-10)
My Back Hurts (Nov/Dec-09)
Fall Protection Program (Sep/Oct-09)
Accident Prevention & Investigation (Jul/Aug-09)
OSHA & Machine Safeguarding (May/Jun-09)
Carbon Monoxide Hazards (Mar/Apr-09)
OSHA Electrical Safety and Training (Jan/Feb-09)
Free Forklift ANSI Standards (Nov/Dec-08)
Worksite Fire Emergencies (Sep/Oct-08)
Machine Safety (Jul/Aug-08)
Ladder Safety (May/Jun-08)
Is Your Company on OSHA's Hit List?
OSHA Notifies Workplaces with High Injury and Illness Rates (Mar/Apr-08)
Safety Means . . . Never Having to Say You're Sorry (Jan/Feb-08)
Flammables and Combustible Liquids (Nov/Dec-07)
Designing-In Safety NOT Retrofitting Safety (Sep/Oct-07)
Back Safety and Lifting (Jul/Aug-07)
Machine Guarding (May/Jun-07)
Your Hearing Keep it for a Lifetime (Mar/Apr-07)
Light Up the Holidays the Safe Way (Nov/Dec-06)
Would You Risk Your Employee's Life? (Sep/Oct-06)
How to Control Workers' Compensation Costs (Jul/Aug-06)
Compliance with 70E Electrical Standards (May/Jun-06)
OSHA Is on the Move (Mar/Apr-06)
Workplace Violence (Jan/Feb-06)
The Aging Workforce (Nov/Dec-05)
The Safety Paradox (Sep/Oct-05)
Machine Guarding (Jul/Aug-05)
Effective Risk Management (May/Jun-05)
Safety Is Everyone's Business (Mar/Apr-05)
New Year's Resolution Safety (Jan/Feb-05)
Safe Driving (Nov/Dec-04)
Terror In The Skies Revisited (Sep/Oct-04)
How They Got Hurt (Jul/Aug-04)
In-Plant Air Monitoring & Analysis (May/Jun-04)
Safety on the Job and Complying with the Americans With Disabilities Act (Mar/Apr-04)
Link to Article Archive (Jan/Feb-04)
A Supervisor's Duty (Nov/Dec-03)
Machine Safety – Are Your Machines Safe to Operate? (Sep/Oct-03)
Summer is Here (Jul/Aug-03)
Working Safely On Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklifts) (May/Jun-03)
Does Your Safety and Health Workplace Program Contain All of These Elements? (Mar/Apr-03)
Methylene Chloride (Jan/Feb-03)
Safety Signs & Labels - Does Your Facility Comply? (Nov/Dec-02)
Indoor Air Quality (Sep/Oct-02)
When OSHA Arrives (Jul/Aug-02)
Facts About the Occupation Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) (May/Jun-02)
Workplace Fire Safety (Mar/Apr-02)
OSHA 300 Form (Jan/Feb-02)
Preparing for Disaster (Nov/Dec-01)
How Much is a Life Worth? (Sep/Oct-01)
Material Handling Programs (Jul/Aug-01)
It's Up To You To Protect Your Skin (May/Jun-01)
When You’ve Been Handed the Responsibility for Safety (Mar/Apr-01)
A Fresh Look at Machine Safeguarding (Jan/Feb-01)
Safe Work Habits (Nov/Dec-00)
The Importance of Material Safety Data Sheets (Sep/Oct-00)
Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (Jul/Aug-00)
Lockout/Tagout Program (May/Jun-00)
OSHA Violations, Citations and Penalties for 1998 (Mar/Apr-00)
Erogonomics and Machinery Safeguarding (Jan/Feb-00)
General Machine Principles (Nov/Dec-99)
Select issue:

SAFETY SOLUTIONS: The Importance of Material Safety Data Sheets

When you are driving on the highways, you see warning signs "Stop", "Caution", and "Hazard Ahead". Messages like these warn you of dangers on the road ahead. Your workplace also has potential dangers, but if you follow the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Hazard Communication Standard, you will be able to stay on the safety highway without an accident.

The HazCom Standard requiring employers to inform employees of potential hazards in the workplace continues to be one of the most-violated standards year after year.

Chemicals are a necessity at home and on the job, but utilizing them unsafely can lead to injury or even death. Chemicals pose physical hazards or health hazards and sometimes both. Physical hazards act outside the body to produce a dangerous situation. Flammable or explosive chemicals pose definite physical hazards. Health hazards cause damage such as stomachaches, nausea and even reproductive damage. Health hazards can be either acute or chronic. If they are acute they occur after a short period of exposure and their damage happens quickly. A chemical leak causing respiratory problems is one example of an acute health hazard. Chronic health hazards occur gradually over a period of time. Examples of these are carcinogens and reproductive toxins.

Employers must inform employees of potential dangers in the work place by:

  • Identifying and creating a list of potentially hazard ous materials employees may encounter. Whether they are produced at your workplace or imported, these materials must be identified with warning labels and MSDSs.
  • Informing employees of any operations in the work area where hazardous materials are present.
  • Explain methods and observations that may be used to detect the presence or release of a hazardous chemical. One such method is monitoring.
  • Inform employees of ways to protect themselves using safe work practices, emergency procedures and personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Inform employees of the location of the employer's writ ten Hazard Communication Program, including details of the program, labeling system, MSDSs and how to use the information effectively.

Training must be updated whenever a new material is introduced into the workplace and whenever any hazard regarding a material changes. Employees, if ever interviewed by OSHA, or during an OSHA inspection, must be able to show a basic understanding of the potential dangers of the chemicals in the workplace.

Warning Labels on Chemicals

Like a stop sign on the road, a label on a chemical container gives important warnings about the potential hazards. Sometimes the labels provide little information or perhaps there is no label at all. If this happens, remember to use common sense:

  • Never mix chemicals that are not properly labeled.
  • Never assume an unlabeled container is harmless just because it isn't labeled.
  • Never remove a label unless it is immediately replaced with another one.

Employers Responsibility

  • Labels must be legible, prominently displayed and contain accurate information.
  • The chemical must be identified.
  • Appropriate hazard warnings must be clear, such as FLAMMABLE or EXPLOSIVE.
  • The name and address of the chemical manufacturer or importer must be clearly visible.

If any of the above information changes, the employer must make sure the labels are updated.

Remember there are 4 main categories of information on a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS); product information, exposure situations, hazard prevention and protection and other specific information. Please, be responsible when using chemicals, it is your safety that is at risk if you don't utilize the proper precautions.

OSHA Citations for Machinery

After attending IWF 2000 in Atlanta, we would like to share the following observations:

  • Lack of safe-guarding is within the top three most cited by regulatory agencies.
  • Many new machines built today are either missing, or offer as optional equipment, the proper guarding, electrical controls and emergency stops as outlined by OSHA federal regulations, ANSI standards, and NFPA codes.

Some things to look for when making your next machine purchase:

  • Point of Operation Safe Guarding
  • Power Outage Protection
  • Guarded Belts and Pulleys
  • An accessible Emergency Stop
  • Proper Color Coding according to OSHA and ANSI Regulations

For more information, click on the Authors Biography at the top of this page.

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