Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Small Businesses not to worry about GHS changes - Think Again!

OSHA's new Hazcom regulation to align with GHS is likely only a few weeks away. As this final rule approaches there are many small organizations that think they are too "small" to worry about the upcoming changes. Every business, construction site, healthcare facility, K-12, warehouse, office, and college campus, etc., in the United States that exposes workers to chemical hazards needs to pay attention to OSHA’s alignment with GHS. Alignment with these new regulations has much to do with your safety and the employees' safety. Some workplaces think they are either too small to be caught, or so large that they can afford any fines assessed.

Staying on top of relevant safety standards is simply the right thing to do, and for employers it is the minimum responsibility they have to their workers.

When it comes to GHS, staying compliant will not be terribly difficult. The most difficult part will probably be the hazard communication safety training; however, the benefits (a safer workforce) will greatly outweigh the costs.

The risk of not aligning with the new HCS is much greater than the cost of complying. As an example of the dangers of chemicals we look no further than an ammonia leak at a workplace in Rosemount, MN reported by SafetyNewsAlert:

A recent fatality serves as a reminder of the dangers present at facilities that use, store or transfer anhydrous ammonia.

One truck driver was killed and another was critically injured when ammonia leaked during a loading operation at CF Industries’ Pine Bend Terminal in Rosemount, MN.

The leak immediately killed 31-year-old Robert Shue and critically injured 56-year-old Roy Taylor.

Two law enforcement officers are being credited with saving Taylor’s life by pulling him 35 feet away from the location of the leak.

The ammonia leaked when a connection between a supply tank and a truck failed.

A driver had noticed a problem with the connection and tried to fix it. The connection broke, causing the leak. The leak was quickly cut off, but the ammonia escaped quickly, creating a toxic cloud that proved fatal.

The Pioneer Press reports that CF Industries has had no safety violations at any of its facilities in the last five years.

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry named one of CF’s locations a Star work site. The program recognizes companies for putting systems in place to identify and eliminate safety hazards.

No comments:

Post a Comment