CIMS-Health Safety and Environmental Stewardship

Two New Resources for Protecting Employees from Chemistry Hazards

WASHINGTON (OSHA) – Each year in the United States, tens of thousands of workers are made sick or die from occupational exposures to the thousands of hazardous chemicals that are used in workplaces every day. OSHA has launched two new web resources to assist companies with keeping their workers safe.

The first is a toolkit to identify safer chemicals that can be used in place of more hazardous ones:

"We know that the most efficient and effective way to protect workers from hazardous chemicals is by eliminating or replacing those chemicals with safer alternatives whenever possible," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.

Do You Know the New GHS Label Format?

The OSHA GHS (Globally Harmonized System) ruling of 2012 requires manufacturers to label chemistry following certain formats. These formats have changed somewhat in comparison with original Hazcom (Hazard Communication Standard) requirements. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) have become Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and have a 16-section design.

Here is a sample illustration of the basic format and a description of the seven basic elements that make up the GHS label.

Straighten Out Your Mis-Aligned Mat Problems

Grocery stores are one place where long mats are needed. Grocers often line their vegetable aisle with mats to avoid slips and falls. As vegetables dry out, the water pressure drops within the cells and the vegetables become softer and look wrinkly. The overspray of water can end up on the floor, reducing traction.

Rental mats are one solution to this issue. Here is a common layout of the longest rental mats available to cover a 60' vegetable aisle.

OSHA Deadline for GHS Training Fast Approaching

If you received a copy of this article by email, please click the link near the bottom to go to the blog including pictures.

Update: The first deadline has passed. If you have not trained your staff yet, don't panic, but do take time to assemble a program. This article and the tools it contains can assist you.

First compliance date - December 1, 2013

According to OSHA announcements:
"By that time (Dec. 1st) employers must have trained their workers on the new label elements and the SDS format. This training is needed early in the transition process since workers are already beginning to see the new labels and SDSs on the chemicals in their workplace.To ensure employees have the information they need to better protect themselves from chemical hazards in the workplace during the transition period, it is critical that employees understand the new label and SDS formats." 


PUR-O-ZONE materials can help you understand the new GHS standard, and to train your employees, with a downloadable slideshow including notes in PowerPoint. Just click on the icon below. The program is designed to help you and your staff Understand the changes to the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (Haz Com):

  • What is GHS?
  • Why was the GHS Developed?
  • What are the Benefits of GHS?
  • What are the Changes to Haz Comm Requirements with GHS?
  • Who does this Impact?
  • When Do You Need To Be In Compliance?
  • Review the New 2012 Hazard Communication
  • New Labeling Requirements
  • Overview of the Safety Data Sheets (SDS) format 16 categories

Click on illustration to download presentation.

Make sure to pass around a log of attendance signed by each employee (download below). Record the date and timeframe covered. Make sure printed names are clearly readable. You may order certificates of attendance from PUR-O-ZONE, and if the tests are passed, we offer Cleaning Education Credits for each successful attendee (90% or more) on the same certificate. See the link below to email scanned tests.

Download a copy of the quiz

OSHA GHS Fact Sheet

OSHA Quick Cards:

Safety Data Sheets   Safety Data Sheets (Spanish)   Pictograms

Download an attendance sign-off sheet here   

Submit a list of attendees, titles and dates for certificates here

Scan and submit quiz answer sheets for grading here

Take Giant Steps with Your Floor Refinishing

Receive a free form and help calculating the value of these techniques in your Kansas or western Missouri facility. You can also request an on-site demonstration.

Advanced Floor Refinishing Tips

TIP 1 - If you are refinishing floors as you did just two years ago, you are perhaps spending twice as much on chemistry and taking two and a half times longer than necessary.

TIP 2 - If you are still relying heavily on floor stripper chemistry, you are utilizing much riskier labor practices than you need to.

TIP 3 - If you are waiting five to seven days to replace furniture, so that it does not stick to your newly refinished floors, you can reduce that to same-day furniture resetting.

TIP 4 - Standard floor refinishing often takes two or three custodians working together. Advanced methods can be handled by a single, well-trained janitor.

TIP 5 - Advanced techniques utilize technological breakthroughs to gain productivity:

  Orbital scrubbing - Much more thorough and effective finish removal by both micro and macro scrubbing motions

  Mechanical stripping - Trading in slippery, odorful stripper for surface prep pad use with water

  Ultra-fast drying, long-life finishes - Refinishing much faster and less often to improve budgets in a major way.

  Propane burnishing - Fast, efficient finishing with a propane walk-behind has to be experienced to be fully appreciated. We can help with that...see the opportunity to apply for a demonstration below.

  Replacement of chemistry with water - Water and surface prep pads can do more work faster than chemical stripping, requires no neutralizing and costs very little.

TIP 6 - The results of these methods are:

  • Better looking floors
  • Longer periods between restoration work
  • Less slip and fume issues for operators
  • Much shorter finish times
  • Much less lost opportunity/inconvenience for building occupants
  •  Lower department costs through productivity improvements

Request a demonstration in your facility. Just select and mark the fifth box down on the form to begin.

Download "How Long Should it Take You to Refinish a 900 sq. ft. room?"

FAQ: The MERS Viral Respiratory Illness

You may have heard concern about a disease that has been identified on the Arabian Peninsula and has spread to several European countries. Related to SARS, but with a far worse mortality rate, MERS, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, has infected 77 in eight countries with 42 deaths, or a mortality rate of 55%. SARS caused worldwide concern in 2003 with a mortality rate of 9.6%.

Ready for the Storm? OSHA Requires Written Emergency Plan Including Tornado Prep

How ready are your employees for a tornado warning during a work shift? Preparation is not only important to their safety, but OSHA requires your written emergency program to include tornado planning, information provided to employees, shelter plans, and even drills for many companies. See the link at the bottom of this page to begin researching if your company falls under this planning umbrella.