Reactive Chemical Safety: OSHA Launches Web Page, Free Guidance Book

OSHA announced Oct. 21 Web users have a new resource to help reduce the occupational hazards caused by the manufacture, storage or use of reactive chemical hazards.

The new Web page features information on the recognition, evaluation and control of chemical reactive hazards, and includes compliance requirements and available training resources. The page also offers free access to a new book by the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) that includes a compendium of best practices from leaders in chemical processing.

"There have been too many reminders in recent years of just how tragic and catastrophic chemical reactions can be if unpredicted and not properly controlled or contained," said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. "Our goal and commitment is to work with chemical safety stakeholders throughout the country to prevent these incidents in the future."

Visitors to the new Web page can access OSHA standards and fact sheets on process safety management (PSM) as well as additional reactive material hazard information from CCPS. Additionally, one click will take readers to a chemical reactivity worksheet provided by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Response and Restoration. The worksheet includes a database of reactivity information for more than 6,000 common hazardous chemicals and details on what dangers can arise during chemical mixing.

OSHA is also providing free access to the CCPS book, Essential Practices for Managing Chemical Reactivity Hazards. The book is useful for safety and health managers, engineers, chemists and others involved in chemical manufacturing or operations to identify and manage chemical reactivity hazards.

The new Web page also includes reports on various reactive chemical incidents and resulting investigative reports, as well as references to other sources of information on chemical safety.

Henshaw explained the agency's strategy concerning chemical reactive safety at the Center for Chemical Process Safety's 18th Annual International Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., last month. In addition to the new Web page, Henshaw told the group that OSHA is working on additional guidance on hazard communication, including material safety data sheets, and will revise the compliance directive for the PSM standard

At the conference Henshaw also said that amending OSHA's Process Safety Management standard to include reactive chemical hazards, as recommended by the Chemical Safety Board last year, is not currently on the agency's regulatory agenda.

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