Building Skills is committed to promoting construction site safety – and this includes our ongoing efforts to share relevant safety-related information with our participants and employer network. One example is OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard and related best practices, which help to inform the safe handling and maintenance of any chemicals used in the workplace, including on construction sites.
Certain worksite activities require additional considerations regarding safety. One example of a piece of the construction process that requires the use of chemicals is corrosion protection, such as protective coating for steel. OSHA takes this issue seriously by requiring chemical manufacturers to label any such products with specific terms to remind us of the importance of following best practices when handling any of these materials. Here are some key tips you should know for worksite safety when working with or around any chemicals onsite.
Use Personal Protective Equipment
In addition to all the typical PPE found on construction sites – and any new PPE related to COVID-19 – make sure to wear any additional PPE specifically related to this issue, such as chemical protective clothing, gloves, and eye protection. Wear respiratory protection in insufficient oxygen environments where substances such as chemicals, dusts, fogs, and smokes are present. This type of protection includes tight-fitting air-purifying respirators and air-supplying respirators.
Utilize Work Practice and Engineering Controls
It is always helpful when employees and employers can collaborate as needed to adjust work schedules and establish efficient processes onsite to ensure safety precautions are in place while meeting all project deadlines. One example is considering engineering controls, which implement physical changes into the workplace to provide added protection for jobs that may include the use of chemicals. This can include isolating or enclosing a specific task, using wet methods to reduce the creation and distribution of dusts, and utilizing general dilution ventilation and fume hoods.
Read Material Safety Data Sheets
OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard requires that all chemical manufacturers, distributors, or importers provide chemical users with Safety Data Sheets to clearly communicate any information concerning materials of hazardous or potentially hazardous nature. It is always important for employees and employers alike to pay close attention to these Safety Data Sheets in order to stay informed and adapt accordingly.