OSHA Construction Chemical Hazards and Toxic Substances
Online Training Certification Course
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This online course provides basic safety training on chemical hazards and toxic substances used in the construction industry. The course will cover the responsibilities of employers and employees, health hazards from chemicals and toxic substances, hazard controls, and federal regulations that protect employees from these hazards. This course is designed to help you achieve a greater understanding of chemical hazards and how you can protect yourself from these hazards.
What are the governing regulations? The following OSHA regulations are applicable to chemical hazards and toxic substances in the construction industry: 29 CFR 1926.55 - Gases, vapors, fumes, dusts, and mists; 29 CFR 1926.57 - Ventilation; 29 CFR 1926.59 - Hazard communication; 29 CFR 1926.60 - Methylenedianiline; 29 CFR 1926.62 - Lead; 29 CFR 1926.64 - Process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals; and 29 CFR 1926 - Subpart Z - Toxic and hazardous substances.
Who must take this training? Employers are responsible for training employees in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and any regulations applicable to their work environment. In particular, any employee who handles or uses harmful or toxic substances must be trained on safe handling and use of the materials.
Case Study: A 40-year-old painter complained that for the past six weeks, he had been experiencing abdominal cramps, nausea, joint pain, and mild mental impairment. He had previously been working on a structure using an industrial blowtorch and sander to remove paint. Some of the walls had 8 to 10 coats of paint and some were clearly very old. Although he had a new respirator, he did not wear it when other workmen were burning off or sanding in other rooms on the same floor. Additionally, he ate, drank, and smoked cigarettes in the same building. No measurements of atmospheric lead concentrations were made.Investigation by the patient's general practitioner showed a blood lead of 4.18 µmol l−1. He was treated and fully recovered.
Key Takeaway: An initial assessment should have been conducted to determine if lead was found in the paint. This would have established the need for respirator use and additional exposure controls. Work site procedures should have been in place to separate break areas from the contaminated work area.
OSHA has not specified any time frame for required retraining or recertification for Construction Chemical Hazards and Toxic Substances. Since there is no OSHA standard dealing with this specific hazard the OSH Act general duty clause, section 5(a)(1), 29 U.S.C. 654(b)(1) defines the standard which provides that:
(a) Each employer -
(1) shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.
A recognized hazard is a danger recognized by the employer's industry or industry in general, by the employer, or by common sense. The general duty clause does not apply if there is an OSHA standard dealing with the hazard, unless the employer knows that the standard does not adequately address the hazard.