Effectively managing chemical safety is good not only for protecting workers from hazards, it is also responsible business.
Womb to Tomb, an alternative industry term for cradle to grave. From creation or entry of chemicals into the workplace, to disposal this term is used to reference personal safety, health and environmental impact associated with all the stages of a chemical life cycle (i.e., from raw material extraction through materials processing, manufacture, distribution, storage, use, re-pair and maintenance, and disposal or recycling).
The use of bar coding and RFid tags to monitor chemical use, movement and disposal is an excellent approach to accurately monitor the chemical life cycle in the workplace.
The use of EHS Software technology in today’s world of the “Internet of Everything” helps support this process; womb to tomb enhances efficiency, improves safety and aids in reducing operation costs. With immediate access and update of information through the use of EHS iOS apps and cloud-based Safety Data Sheet and GHS labeling solutions, aligned with a comprehensive chemical inventory tracking software to manage chemicals from delivery through disposal, efforts are streamlined and accuracy is improved.
The advantages of using online EHS technology include significant cost savings, through effective work practices such as safe storage, handling, use and disposal procedures. Potential harm to the environment is also mitigated. Furthermore, technology provides GHS Compliance Labels, Hazardous Waste Management, Regulatory Reporting for OSHA’s chemical list of hazards and EPA’s Tire II and RCRA reporting requirements.
Let’s now take a closer look at a specific type of EHS technology and its advancement opportunities it offers:
EMS Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a Chemical Safety Software-as-a-Service pay-as-you-go option that provides enterprise-level chemical inventory management, waste management, and regulatory reporting software, collectively called Environmental Management Systems (EMS), at a fraction of the time and cost it would take to otherwise license and implement.
• BASIC: Chemical inventory tracking including Safety Data Sheets, GHS labels, bar code labels, management reporting tools, environmental regulatory reporting, and the EMS Chemical Inventory mobile app for iPhone, iPads and Android devices.
• STANDARD: All EMS Basic Edition features plus cradle-to-grave hazardous waste management, drum label & manifest printing, compliance reporting tools, and the EMS Waste mobile app for iPhone and iPad.
• ADVANCED: All EMS Basic and Standard Edition features plus workplace safety, facility management, OSHA reporting, EMS Audit mobile app for iPhone and iPad, and a great deal more.
Most organizations that strive for safety excellence within their safety management program seek to invest in the use of EHS technology to aid in that endeavor. With the use of data sharing and data access capabilities through the cloud and mobile devices such as the iPhone, Android and iOS apps, technology can make the world of safety management less difficult, more efficient, and nearly effortless to meet various regulatory compliance such as OSHA and EPA. This is especially true when speaking for the womb to tomb process of managing chemicals on site.
With the use of technology, an organization can conduct various risk assessments under nearly any environmental condition.
A chemical risk assessment follows the same steps as a risk assessment for any other hazards in your workplace. There are three basic steps to conduct a risk assessment:
1. Identifying the hazard: This process involves identifying the chemicals you either are going to purchase or currently have in your workplace and the health and physical hazards associated with them.
2. Assessing the risk: This process involves assessing the risk from chemicals or processes that handle chemicals in your workplace.
3. Controlling the exposure: This process involves considering various control measures to eliminate or reduce the hazard to an acceptable level of risk.
While conducting chemical risk assessment, there are certain terms to know when managing chemical safety from womb to tomb. This is important to know when using technology to develop your site specific material information to create risk assessments and reports.
These terms are as follows:
• Hazard: A hazard is anything that has the potential to cause harm, in terms of injury, ill-health or damage to the environment. For example, working with dangerous chemicals or processes which give rise to dusts or fumes.
• Risk: Risk is the chance (e.g. high, medium or low) that a person or the environment will be harmed by the hazard. It also considers how severe the harm or ill-health could be.
• Likelihood: Likelihood is a measure of how likely it is that an accident or ill- health could happen. When people are working and managing their chemicals safely there is less chance that an accident or ill-health will occur.
• Severity / Consequence: Severity is a measure of how serious the injury, ill-health or dam-age to the environment could be as a consequence of unsafe working with chemicals.
• Control measure: Control measures are the steps you are going to take to remove chemical hazards or at least reduce exposure to a low level.
• Safety data sheet (SDS): A safety data sheet (SDS) is a document that must be provided in the workplace or lab with all hazardous chemicals. It provides useful information on the chemical hazards, advice on safe handling, use and storage, and the emergency measures to be followed in case of an accident.
• Label: All chemicals should be supplied with a label on the container which clearly identifies the chemical and its hazards.
• CAS number: This is a unique identifying number which is assigned to each chemical. Where you encounter more than one chemical or trade name for the same chemical, you can use this number to identify the chemical.
• Occupational exposure limit value (OELV): This is a concentration of a chemical in work-place air to which most people can be exposed without experiencing harmful effects.
• Chemical inventory: This is a list of all the chemicals you have in your workplace by type of chemical, storage location and quantity used and on hand.
A number of EHS apps are available to help the EHS and safety professionals manage safety in the workplace. Streamlining chemical information and having it available instantly and accurately is a win-win for the professional safety manager and for worker safety. This is accomplished by less time conducting administrative tasks and more time completing inspections, audits and observations to validate worker safety and regulatory compliance.
For more information on the various types of comprehensive EHS software that is available and the functionality that it offers, click on this link