Hazard and Risk Analysis

The terms risk and hazard are used often in the safety world, many times interchangeably. They have very different meanings, however, and when using these terms, care should be taken to use them appropriately. When evaluating a process or procedure, assigning these terms appropriately can help simplify the safety assessment process.

What is a hazard?

A hazard refers to a potential source of harm. Examples can include chemical, biological, radiological, and physical hazards. Toxic chemicals, infectious biologics, and moving mechanical parts are all different types of hazards. The hazard level of a particular item or condition is static, meaning it does not vary. However, it can be evaluated relative to other hazards. Simply put, a hazard is a material or condition that can have an adverse effect on a person’s health or physical property.

What is risk?

Risk is the potential for interaction with a hazard. Generally speaking, risk is referenced in relative […]

Exploring Exposure Limits: What do those numbers mean?

If you’ve ever attended safety training, you surely have heard the terms PEL, TLV, REL and STEL.  Do these letters really have a meaning or are they just a bunch of alphabet soup?  These acronyms all represent different occupational exposure limits (OELs) that are derived by different organizations.  An OEL is representative of the highest concentration a healthy worker can be exposed to for a full work week over the duration of their working life without experiencing an adverse effect.  Although similar, they each have a different goal and meaning.

Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL)

The Permissible Exposure Limit, or PEL, is the most widely known exposure limit.  This is the OSHA 8-hour time weighted average (TWA) exposure limit and is the only limit directly enforceable by regulation.  OSHA limits must be approved by Congress and take into account both health benefits and industry costs.  PELs are difficult to change because of the congressional approval required.  These […]

February 5th, 2020|Categories: Insights|Tags: , , , |

Is Your Chemical Hygiene Plan a Living Document?

A Chemical Hygiene Plan is required for companies falling under OSHA’s Lab Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1450, while a Hazard Communication Plan fulfills the requirements found in OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200.  Is your Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) updated as hazards, procedures, and policies change, or is it a stagnant document that is reviewed annually at best?

29 CFR 1910.1450 applies to all employers engaged in laboratory use of hazardous chemicals.  Employers covered by the lab standard are required to develop and carry out the provisions of a written CHP, which protects employees from the health hazards associated with hazardous chemicals and keeps exposures below established limits.  Taking time to establish appropriate facility specific procedures, and keeping them up to date, makes a CHP a resource for laboratory employees.  The designated Chemical Hygiene Officer should be involved in developing these procedures, including your personal protective equipment policy and chemical hygiene practices.  If select carcinogens, reproductive toxins, and chemicals with a high level of […]