Individuals entering laboratory space should be informed of the hazards associated with the particular laboratories. Lab workers are required to attend safety training, but does your facility extend the training requirement to ancillary staff?
Individuals that are not employees but provide support functions to a facility, such as cleaning company staff, should be made aware of the site specific hazards and emergency procedures at your facility. Holding a training session for ancillary staff accomplishes this goal, and provides an opportunity for a question and answer session. Ancillary training is often overlooked because employers are focused on training their own employees; however a comprehensive hazard communication program should include ancillary staff training.
An overview of OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard, and the signs and labels used to warn individuals of the hazardous present at your facility should be covered during training. Warning signs are only useful if individuals are aware of what they mean and understand the consequences of not paying attention to warnings. It is also prudent to cover proper response to emergency situations, incident reporting, available resources, and the personal protective equipment policy in place. Ancillary staff is often present when a limited number of employees are on-site, so allotting time for a question and answer session will likely prove beneficial.
The importance of educating all individuals entering laboratory space of the hazards, hazard communication, and emergency procedures should not be overlooked.