Hazardous materials (aka chemicals) are regulated primarily in the International Codes (Fire, Building, Mechanical) or by OSHA. Some states, notably Oregon, Washington and California on the West coast, have adapted these Codes and standards to specifically apply to the state – i.e., each of these states has it’s own version of the International Codes and each state has it’s own OSHA program.
Understanding the nuances and differences from state to state can be important when dealing with hazardous materials use or storage concerns. In general, the Building, Fire and Mechanical Codes apply to building protection while the OSHA standards apply to worker safety. There is overlap between the Codes and the OSHA standards – Codes also address occupant safety (exiting, ventilation, etc.) while OSHA standards often take into account facility construction features effecting workers.
Oregon OSHA has recently made changes that effecting the Hazard Communications standard and hazardous chemicals used and stored in laboratories. It is essential for hazardous materials users to remain current with OSHA requirements which include training, MSDSs, labeling, PPE and engineering controls. Feel freee to contact Miller Safety & Health Consulting to discuss concerns you might have in theis area.
Fire, Building and Mechanical Codes have existed for many decades in the U.S. The purpose of these codes is to protect people and property by using a standard approach to construction, fire safety and ventilation. The collapse of a building in Bangladesh or the explosion at the fertilizer factory in Texas, both resulting in many deaths and injuries and vast property destruction, were preventable and tragic. Proper use of of Fire, Building and Mechanical Codes could have prevented these events.
An Emergency Action Plan (EAP) is an OSHA requirement whether the workplace is an office, warehouse, factory or store. EAPs are essential for pre-planning and training of employees in case of a fire, weather emergencies, workplace violence, industrial accident or medical event. The more complex the facility, the more details and training are required so employees take the appropriate action to lesson the risk to life and property.
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