Identifying Hazardous Materials
By the time the session is over, you will be able to understand the terms and definitions of toxicology and explain risks of hazardous materials; be familiar with the different types of hazardous materials and how they are classified; know how to read product labels on containers with hazardous materials and recognize the symbols on placards attached to dangerous goods; understand how safety data sheets (SDSs) and other complementary guides are used to assist in identifying hazardous materials; and know precautionary measures to prevent spills and accidents and be prepared for action if and when they occur.
Why “Identifying Hazardous Materials” Matters:
Every year, of the approximately 43 million U.S. workers who are potentially exposed to the 880,000 hazardous chemicals used, approximately 50,000 injuries and illnesses and 125 deaths occur. The numbers speak for themselves—protecting yourself and others around you by educating yourself on the harmful substances you work with is essential.
- Respect the hazardous materials you work with and proactively learn about the hazardous substances you work with for your health and safety and that of everyone around you. Knowledge is power!
- The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) system of classification and labeling of chemicals was created to make identification easier and more transparent on a global scale.
- Identify the possible hazards of a material BEFORE you begin working with it, and learn the active labeling system in your workplace. Don’t wait until you have already been exposed to find out about the substance; otherwise, you or your coworkers could be seriously injured.
- Know how to handle a hazardous material within the scope of your particular workplace and situation. Always ask your supervisors or qualified personnel if you have questions.
- Never take action above your level of training or beyond your knowledge.