One part of the Hazard Communication Standard is the chemical Inventory. Most chemicals in the construction industry fall into four categories. FLAMMABLES, CORROSIVES & IRRITANTS, COMPRESSED GASSES, and TOXIC AGENTS. Typically we would find most of these around our work site.
Can you think of any FLAMMABLES that are used? Of course, the main one is gasoline, used to fuel various small engine pumps, generators, concrete mixers, tampers, etc. We also use diesel fuel to operate most of the heavy equipment. CORROSIVES may be found in the cleaners that are used in concrete cleaning. Battery acid used in batteries is also very corrosive. Can you think of others?
COMPRESSED GASSES are used in many construction operations. Anytime we use a cutting torch there are two compressed-gas cylinders. Oxygen and acetylene are the main fuel, but we also use argon and nitrogen. Do you know of any others?
TOXIC AGENTS are also found. Benzene chromium and MEK (methyl ethvl ketone) to name a few. Are you aware of other agents in use on your job?
Many chemicals come and go on the jobsite as various trades use them in their individual work. Written inventory of the different chemicals is required by Haz Com and should be readily available to all employees. The list must be updated each time another chemical arrives on site. The inventory should include all chemicals, whether stored in cans, bottles, tanks or other containers. Remember, cleaning fluids, solvents, waxes, paints, disinfectants,, copy toner, oils, gas, diesel and lubricants are all chemicals. Don’t overlook the obvious.
It is a good practice to keep this inventory at the job office or trailer or with the supervisor. Should a question arise about a particular chemical on site all you need do is go to the office or your supervisor to review the inventory and the appropriate MSDS for the chemical in question.
CHEMICALS CAN BE VERY DANGEROUS! KNOW WHAT YOU’RE USING AND WEAR REQUIRED PROTECTIVE GEAR