Chemical Hazards and Fire Safety
Material Safety Data Sheets
Right to Know (HAZCOM)
Approximately 590,000 workers, about 1 in
4 in the North Carolina workforce are exposed to 1 or more chemical hazards.
There are an estimated 575,000 chemical products in the nation and new ones being introduced annually.
Chemical exposures may cost or contribute to many serious health effects such as heart ailments, kidney and lung damage, sterility, cancer, burns and rashes. Some chemicals may also be safety hazards and have the potential to cause fires, explosions and other serious accidents.
Purpose of MSDS
Chemical manufacturers and importers must develop Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for each hazardous chemical they produce or import.
Employers are responsible for obtaining or developing a MSDS for each hazardous chemical used, including information regarding the specific chemical identity of the hazardous chemical(s) involved and the common names.
Beyond the identity information, the MSDS must provide information on the physical and chemical characteristics of the hazardous chemical, known acute and chronic health effects and related health information, exposure limits, whether the chemical is considered to be a carcinogen, precautionary measures, emergency and first aid procedures, and the identification of the organization responsible for preparing the sheet.
Where to Locate MSDS
• Copies of the MSDS for hazardous chemicals in a given work site are to be readily accessible to employees in that area. As a source of detailed information on hazards, they must be located close to workers and readily available to them during working hours.
Under no circumstance should chemicals be stored under sinks
or in cabinets accessible to students.
Lists of hazardous chemicals and the required Material Safety Data
Sheets utilized in the science classroom will be maintained by the Science Supervisor.
All employees are required to report workplace hazards to their supervisor and use Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) if required. Report unusual odors, unknown substances, and exposure to hazardous chemicals.
MSDS rules apply to all industrial chemicals. Consumer items are exempt. Employees can refuse to work with chemicals they do not know about.
MSDS Books are kept in the Custodian’s office/closet, cafeteria and science labs.
In the workplace, each container must be labeled, tagged or marked with the identity of the hazardous chemicals contained within and must show the hazard warnings appropriate for employee protection. The hazard warning can be any type of message, picture or symbol which convey the hazards of the chemical(s) in the container.
Labels must be legible, in English (plus other languages, if desired), and prominently displayed.
Several exemptions to individual container labels are given:
Employees can post signs or placards which convey the hazard information if there are a number of stationary containers within a work area which have similar contents and hazards.
Employers are not required to label pipes or piping systems
Remember: If you put something in a bottle other than what it came in, the new container must be labeled.
Classes of Fires
Class A Fires: Fires that involve ordinary combustible materials such as wood, paper, cloth, rubber and different types of plastics.
Class B Fires: Fires that involved flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil, grease, tar, oil-based paints, lacquer and gases (propane, natural gas, hydrogen, etc.). Class C Fires: Fires that involve energized electrical equipment including wiring, fuses and panel boxes, circuit breakers, machinery and appliances
(microwaves, computers, projectors, televisions, etc.). Class D Fires: Fires that involve combustible metals such as magnesium, titanium and sodium.
The failure to use the appropriate type of extinguisher on the class of fire that it is…