Does Modern Technology Bring Safety or Danger to Today’s Laboratories?
What came first, the technology or the industrial accident? This is a riddle that has plagued the chemical industry field for many a year. It’s true that many industrial tools leverage technology to create a safe and productive environment. And, few could argue that safety technology is a bad investment.
When we examine workplace injuries, many times the problem is not the equipment itself, but an unsafe operating procedure or lack of user training. Workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths, are the target of OSHA’s chemical safety regulations. This is the agency upholding employees’ “right to know and understand” the hazards where they live, learn and work.
Accidents in the chemical industry field often make headline news because of the dramatic explosions and environmental damage that accompany chemical disasters. However, silently working in the background of these news stories are thousands of researchers, engineers, legislators, EHS professionals and lab managers who are honing safety best practices and sharing the message. Creating a network of regulations, this group of safety professionals addresses the many stages of the life of a chemical. From manufacturing to transport, and handling to disposal, there are safety rules enforced by many agencies.
It’s a disappointing fact that no matter what training measures and operating procedures are put in place, accidents still happen. We can create zero tolerance policies, but there are no zero-risk situations. Luckily, we have a bounty of resources from government agencies and industrial experts for best practices.
In a facility where all personnel have thorough chemical and emergency training and personal protective gear is worn at all times, there is a strong chance of a positive outcome, even during an accident. If proper lockout procedures are used every time someone put his or her hands under a hydraulic tool, then we can expect to see fewer problems. When all safety inspectors are using best practices and the culture of safety comes from the top of the organization, employees take notice.
One major advancement to the chemical industry field is coming up on the horizon. The Globally Harmonized System of classification and labeling chemicals will bring standardization on an international level in the pursuit of employee safety. These changes will affect chemical manufacturers, R&D and manufacturing facilities in different ways.
At ChemSW, our inventory management solutions bring best practices to your lab. With our inventory management software, you can have one system tracking every chemical container in real-time. Please visit our website today to find out more information about our safety solutions!