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Work Practices and Engineering Controls

Because hazardous materials and waste are part of many work situations, and can be found on many types of job sites, OSHA feels that it is very important for employees to know how to recognize these potentially dangerous substances as well as how to handle and dispose of them properly. OSHA has mandated that anyone working with these substances receive comprehensive training in this area. Our training products on HAZWOPER: Work Practices and Engineering Controls help employees to understand the nature and behavior of hazardous chemicals, and learn how to reduce or eliminate potential exposure to hazardous materials in their work environments through the use of work practices and engineering controls. Some of the information topics in this material include general HAZMAT work practices, the Site Safety and Health Plan, responsibilities of the Site Safety and Health Officer and general HAZMAT engineering controls among others.

As with most OSHA standards and best practices for employee health and safety, engineering controls and work practices take precedent. Controls to eliminate or minimize employee exposures are always the first means to protect workers. Where exposures remain following installing controls, personal protective equipment must be used. The OSHA standard requires these controls be regularly inspected and maintained to ensure their effectiveness. Hand washing facilities are examples of proper engineering controls. All forensic scientists know that we wash our hands immediately after removing gloves or following contact with blood or other potentially infected material (OPIM). Employers must provide these hand washing facilities or if not feasible, an effective antiseptic cleanser with clean towels or antiseptic towelettes. Sharps containers are another example of engineering controls. Immediately or as soon as possible after use, contaminated sharps such as needles or scalpels are placed in puncture resistant, labeled, and leak-proof containers.

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