Presentation on theme: "Introduction to Workplace Safety"— Presentation transcript:
1 Introduction to Workplace Safety In this course, we will be discussing various topics related to safety in the workplace, emphasizing those topics that are particularly relevant to the biotechnology laboratory. In this lecture we will begin by considering some terms that are essential to our discussion. We will continue with an exploration of the units of government that regulate safety in the workplace. You will also have a chance to explore some of the resources available to you as a laboratory worker—resources that will enable you to work more safely and efficiently.
2 What is “Safety”?Elimination of potential threats to health and well-beingACCIDENTSLet us consider first the concept of safety. What do we mean by “safety”? Simply put, safety is the elimination of potential threats to human health and well-being. Note that we specifically state potential threats! Therefore, practicing safety in the workplace will require that we can anticipate accidents and emergencies, and take steps to prevent them. To be able to anticipate things that may go wrong is a skill that can be strengthened by learning about a specific workplace and the types of work that occur there. Of course, experience will help as well. However, it is clear that working safely will require that you have information upon which you may make judgments, and we will be investigating the types of information you will most commonly use in this course.EMERGENCIES
3 Accidents Unexpected, usually sudden, events that cause harm Trips, slips and falls (30% of accidents)If you work in the laboratory long enough, you will encounter a situation that will require you to take some action to fix the situation, or at the very least, to prevent it from escalating. The manner in which you respond will depend upon whether the situation is an accident, or whether it is more appropriately classified as an emergency. Let’s take a few minutes to explain the distinction between these two types of situations. An accident is an unexpected, usually sudden event that may cause harm to the worker or the workplace. Most workplace accidents are preventable with the appropriate training and attention to detail. In fact, trips, slips and falls comprise up to 30% of workplace accidents. Other common accidents include cuts from broken glass and collisions with co-workers.PREVENTABLE….
4 EmergenciesSituations requiring immediate action to prevent harm or damage to people or propertyWhile accidents can result in harm to individuals or the workplace, they are contained situations. Emergencies, however, are situations that require immediate action to prevent the level of harm or damage to individuals or the environment from escalating. Fires, for instance, would require an immediate response to prevent the situation from worsening. Correctly responding to emergencies requires training and will often include involving outside resources such as fire, rescue or medical professionals.
5 Hazards Equipment, chemicals, conditions with potential to cause harm. Safety programs are designed to control hazards.So, if safety requires that we are able to anticipate how and when accidents and emergencies may occur, we must be able to identify those equipment, chemicals and conditions that have the potential to cause harm. We call these conditions, chemicals and other laboratory components that could cause an accident or emergency hazards. Biotechnology laboratories contain a number of categories of hazards from the obvious, including chemicals, radioactivity and open flame, to those that may seem less obviously hazardous such as pressurized gas cylinders, extreme cold and electricity. In fact, if each time a worker was preparing for a lab exercise she needed to consider each hazard anew, very little work would get done! Fortunately, biotechnology laboratories will have in place safety programs designed to control hazards.
6 Risk assessmentsRisk: the probability that a specific hazard will cause harmRisk assessment:attempt to estimate potential for injury or property damagemanage or eliminate hazardssafety guidelines and standards helpA very effective way that workplaces can begin to manage risk is through performing a risk assessment. Remember that a hazard is equipment, chemicals or other situations with the potential to cause harm. A risk is the probability that a specific hazard will cause harm. Risks can often be reduced by safety programs. Risk assessment is an attempt to estimate the potential for injury or property damage from an activity. This is sometimes a tricky proposition because there are many variables involved. For instance, you might expect high risk involved with working with major hazards such as HIV. However, the extreme caution workers exhibit when working with such agents lowers the risk. Ideally, once a risk assessment is completed, hazards will be eliminated. Of course, this is not a realistic scenario. Therefore, safety guidelines and standards are established to prevent accidents by reducing risk of hazards when the hazards can not be completely eliminated.
7 Maintaining Workplace Safety Federal agencies:Create regulationsEmployers:safe environmenttrainingemergency response plansEmployees:implement the institutional safety planFederal agenciesEmployersEmployeesSo if we understand that laboratories contain hazards which have associated risks that must be managed to support worker safety, whose job is it to manage these risks? For the remainder of this lecture we will discuss who bears the responsibility for maintaining safety in the workplace. Fortunately, this responsibility is shared by many people, and this shared responsibility can be presented as a hierarchy as shown here. Federal agencies sit at the top of the hierarchy and they create the regulations that govern safety in the workplace. Employers occupy the next tier and are charged with providing a safe environment for their workers. This requires that employers establish various training and emergency response plans. The base of this hierarchy is supported by employees who implement their institution’s safety plan.
8 The Roles of Federal Agencies Standards:VoluntaryRegulations:required by lawCategoriesWorker safetyEnvironmental protectionUse and handling of animalsRegulation of radioisotopesAt the top of the hierarchy, federal agencies establish safety standards, which are voluntary guidelines for creating a safe workplace, and regulations, which carry the force of law. Various federal agencies establish standards and regulations covering worker safety, environmental protection, the use and handling of animals in the laboratory and the use and handling of radioactive substances.
9 Major Regulatory Agencies OSHAWorker safetyOSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is the federal agency charged with worker safety. OSHA is involved with a broad range of areas that impact worker health and safety in the workplace. EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency, regulates laboratories in a number of ways, including controlling safe waste disposal and storage, and the release of any genetically modified organisms into the environment.EPA:Safe waste disposal and storageRelease of genetically modified organisms into environment
10 Major Regulatory Agencies DOT:Transportation of hazardous materials.NRC:Safe use of radioactivityDOT, the Department of Transportation impacts biotechnology laboratories in that it regulates the shipping of hazardous materials. Finally, NRC, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, enforces all regulations that cover the use of radioactive materials.
11 “Right-to-Know” Law Federal Hazard Communication Standard Developed in 1983 by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)Regulates use of hazardous materials in industrial workplacesRegulates availability of information about employee hazard exposure and safetyIn an effort to manage workplace safety, OSHA, in 1983, developed the Federal Hazard Communication Standard. This legislation is more commonly known as the “Right-to-Know” law. This law regulates the use of hazardous materials in industrial workplaces. It also regulates the availability of information about employee hazard exposure and safety measures. The Laboratory Standard instituted in 1990, extended the Federal Hazard Communication Standard specifically to laboratory workplaces and requires employers to develop, document and implement a plan to protect workers from hazards.
12 Employer Responsibilities Workplace hazard identificationWritten hazard communication planSafety Data Sheets (SDS)Clear labeling of all chemicalsWorker training for safe chemical handlingSo the Right-to-Know Law and the subsequent Laboratory Standard charge employers with a variety of responsibilities to ensure that workers have access to the information that they need to work safely in laboratories. Employers must clearly identify all hazards in the laboratory and complete a formal written hazard communication plan. Additionally, all SDS sheets must be readily available on site for all chemicals in the laboratory. Any chemicals in use or storage must be clearly and unambiguously labeled, and all workers must be trained in the safe handling of chemicals before working in the laboratory.
13 Chemical Hygiene Plans Laboratory Standard requires all institutions to file a chemical hygiene plan (CHP) for each laboratoryIn 1990, the Right to Know Law was specifically extended to laboratory settings. This involved requiring all institutions to file a chemical hygiene plan for each laboratory. A CHP is a written manual outlining information and procedures necessary to protect workers from specific hazards. CHPs cover all aspects of chemical use, storage and disposal and are vital to the safe operation of a laboratory. The final slides of this lecture summarize the topics that are addressed in each laboratory’s chemical hygiene plan.
14 CHP content 1. General chemical safety rules and procedures 2. Purchase, distribution and storage of chemicals3. Environmental monitoring4. Availability of medical program5. Maintenance, housekeeping and inspection
15 CHP content 6. Protective devices and clothing 7. Record-keeping 8. Training programs9. Chemical labeling10. Accident and spill policies11. Waste disposal