Four Things Your Employees Need to Know About Hazardous Waste, & Recyclable Oil (Guest Post)

Hazardous Waste, Recyclable Oil, and 4 things your employees need to know. 

Being knowledgeable about the dangers of all chemicals in your workplace is the first step to a safer work environment.

As one of the most valuable resources the Earth has to offer, oil is commonly found in many workplaces, from factories and plants to gas stations and restaurants. While oil is necessary it can also be a danger to employees if not labeled and handled properly. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) outlines a number of safety guidelines to ensure workers handle all materials correctly.

The biggest and most important responsibility of an employer is being informed and protecting all employees. Here are four of the most important steps an employer can take to ensure safety:

Know The Materials You’re Working With

Often the words “waste oil” and “used oil” are used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Waste oil is oil that has been contaminated and cannot be used for its intended purpose. Waste oil can be hazardous and must be disposed of or stored according to strict OSHA regulations to prevent illness or accident. Used oil is oil that has been used for its intended purpose and can now be recycled and re-refined to be used again. Both types pose a threat to drinking water sources and thus must always be carefully handled.

Be Prepared

Oil is a class B fire hazard, meaning it requires specific fire extinguishers that use sodium or potassium bicarbonate. Chemical hazards can cause serious dangers when they are not thoroughly controlled. Oil can cause fires, explosions, and toxic emissions. Employers are also responsible for providing fire prevention information, safe exits, escape routes, and hazard communication. If people remain informed and prepared, many of the risks associated with oil use and storage can be prevented.

Provide Your Employees with Protection

OSHA requires that all businesses provide safety training, personal protective equipment, and an emergency action plan. By keeping up to date on regulations and guidelines, employers can ensure that they are not liable when things go wrong. Furthermore, employers are responsible for reporting any injuries or illnesses that occur while on the job. By doing so, they can prevent future accidents. Conducting business in a safe and secure way gives employers the power to be efficient.

Stay Up To Date

OSHA frequently releases new information and statistics to help businesses maintain the best possible working conditions. Each year OSHA holds a safety conference which presents the newest information available about conditions in the workplace. In addition, when employers receive new rules, regulations, or warnings they are responsible for relaying the information to their employees and taking the appropriate steps for compliance and improvement.

Having all information and safety equipment prominently displayed and explained will keep employers and employees safe and competent. While working with oil is often unavoidable, the dangers associated with it are avoidable and should be treated with care and concern. 

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