The People and Environment Protected by Safety Regulations
Who is OSHA trying to protect with the new GHS? And, just what is the EPA trying to save with EPCRA? We have many overlapping regulations and a complex system of rules and audits, so what do we get when we put them all together?
Using the strategy of prevention and preparedness, these regulations reduce the negative impact of industrial presences on health, communities and the environment. The cost of industrial accidents is just too high. Preventable workplace deaths and injuries are needless and tragic, however, we still see industrial workplace accidents continuing to occur from preventable environmental disasters to preventable personal accidents. Regulatory agencies have both incentives and punishments to enforce their regulations including fiscal penalties, a lack of insurance coverage if the company is at fault and potential court settlements to pay for community recovery.
We have a beautiful planet with its own complex natural cycles. There are feedback loops in the water, air, mineral resources and living things that create an interconnected web. Waste is part of life, and the EPA is charged with directing how we release, move and store our waste. The Toxic Release Inventory reports became powerful tools for the EPA and communities. While the reports encourage pollution prevention, they also outline exactly what is being released in the neighborhood.
In the news, we have read high-profile stories about chemical explosions at an industrial facility, a deep-water oil rig and a train car transporting chemicals. While news like this is heard around the world, there were people in the heart of it all who were personally affected. Each community deserves the power of information and the EPA enforces the public’s right to know what chemicals are in their lives with the EPCRA. And, OSHA adds the right to know and understand chemicals in the workplace, with the GHS labeling and classification system on the horizon.
In an industrial accident, the safety of the people on site, such as the employees and first responders is extremely important. Complying with safety regulations can keep little accidents from becoming huge disasters. For example, storing chemicals in the proper control areas and keeping a real-time inventory list of hazardous materials can go a long way to saving lives and property.
If first responders have thorough, accurate information in hand when they arrive at the scene of an emergency, they can plan how to control the fire or problem. There are valuable research and tools within a research facility. In some cases, emergency responders have been forced to watch a building burn to the ground if there is no inventory list and the building contains unknown hazardous materials. This is a preventable loss for the company.
At ChemSW, we love safety and our software solutions empower employees, EHS professionals and safety inspectors with real-time inventory lists and hazard information. Please visit our website to find out more about our inventory safety software solutions.