Hazardous Materials

PREPARING FOR A HAZMAT INCIDENT Check out solutions that can help minimize the impact of hazardous material spills and leaks.

A hazardous materials (HazMat) emergency plan is vital to the safe use and transport hazardous products such as explosives, substances, poisons and radioactive materials. If a spill, exposure or explosion occurs, communicating and testing a comprehensive HazMat emergency plan with your staff will help keep people safe and minimize loss to your business. Be sure to have personnel trained in CPR and First Aid and compile an easily accessible emergency kit. FEMA, OSHA and NIOSH have published recommendations on building preparedness plans.

  • Identify and label all hazardous materials in your facility and make sure that Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for these materials are accessible.
  • Read all labels carefully and always follow handling and disposal guidelines.
  • Use only approved containers, and do not overload or overfill containers.
  • Treat empty containers with the same caution as filled containers.
  • Ensure proper ventilation.
  • Identify other facilities, highways, railroads and waterways near your facility that use or transport hazardous materials.
  • Determine how an incident could impact your operations; make sure your preparedness plan includes a response to this type of event.
  • Always wear proper apparel when handling hazardous materials.
  • Be aware of additional environmental guidelines for handling hazardous materials (e.g., ventilation standards).
  • Make sure you are trained in proper handling techniques and response guidelines if any material is released.
  • Stay alert to other acitvity around you that could react and initiate an incident.
  • Call authorities immediately.
  • Vacate the area promptly and stay upwind from the incident if it is outdoors. If required to remain inside, turn off all ventilation that brings in outside air.
  • Seal all gaps to prevent leakage into safe areas beyond the contamination zone.
  • Attend to the injured and provide details as soon as emergency personnel arrive
  • Confine the contamination ONLY if you are qualified to do so. If not, provide immediate access and information for authorized responders.
  • Return to the facility only after it is safe to do so.
  • Seek guidance from authorities how to properly clean your facility and equipment, and confirm that decontamination follows recommended protocols.
  • Be sure to wear OSHA recommended personal protective equipment and apparel as well as establish environmental safety controls throughout the cleanup process.
  • Review procedures and take steps to prevent, minimize or mitigate future incidents.
  • Report ongoing signs of continuing contamination to management and authorities as required.
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