The management of hazardous materials at any institution is one of the most universal challenges that EHS personnel face every day. Even with all the appropriate training, workers can at times become complacent regarding the proper handling, storage and disposal of potentially dangerous chemicals and compounds, and in the blink of an eye these moments can turn into incidents of property damage, regulatory citations, personal injuries, and even death. It is important that EHS teams have a multi-faceted approach to preventing such occurrences, and using modern digital tools built specifically for the job is the most effective and efficient way to accomplish it.
The first step in this process is to ensure that all individuals are fully aware of what hazardous materials are present in the areas in which they work. The SafetyStratus Hazard Assessment and Chemical Hygiene Tool provides a simple yet power means by which to do this. Area managers or team leads can complete regular assessments of their areas and select what hazards or hazardous materials are present in each of their workspaces. These hazards are pre-populated with all the required personal protective equipment as dictated by EHS managers, making it very clear to the end users how these hazards must be approached. When the assessment is complete, all members of the team can then be required to provide their digital signature, thereby stating that they are fully aware of all hazards as well as the proper methods and equipment required when handling them. Additionally, the Hazard Assessment Tool ties in real-time training information so that managers can effortlessly track the types of required trainings for each of their team members, as well as whether any trainings are overdue.
For any institution where hazardous materials are present, it is critical that a strong chemical inventory system is in place. Cloud-based digital inventory systems, such as what is offered by SafetyStratus, have become the most efficient and powerful means by which EHS teams and area managers can track large inventories. The SafetyStratus Chemical Inventory Module provides real-time inventory data which can be accessed via web browser by any authorized user. Area managers and their teams can use the module to not only track and maintain their current inventories, but also access other vital information such as digital safety data sheets and GHS hazard information. EHS managers can search for and closely monitor any hazardous material in the system, including important data such as expiration dates and quantities. The Chemical Inventory Module can also run reports on such chemicals of interest to ensure that quantities of certain substances are not exceeding state or federal possession limits.
Inspections & Oversight
The final piece of this digital approach to hazardous materials management includes the in-person oversight component, which comes in the form of regular on-site inspections. This step is critical in ensuring that all end users are in fact following all regulations, requirements and practices that have been set forth in the hazard assessments, trainings, and safety data sheets, as well as to verify that these users are maintaining an accurate inventory of chemicals and hazardous materials. Inspections and audits have long been a common staple in the world of environmental health and safety, and now with the power and capability of mobile devices, high-speed internet and cloud-based software, many institutions are moving away from the pen & paper and adopting a digital approach. The SafetyStratus Inspections Module is an easy-to-use auditing tool that allows EHS professionals to efficiently and accurately carry out inspections and assign and track corrective actions to completion. Checklists can be customized to fit any potential category or need that may exist. Automated notifications can be distributed to guarantee that all responsible parties are kept in the loop about completed inspections and resulting deficiencies that may have been found.
Hazardous materials management will always be significant part of any EHS effort, and it is essential that safety professionals continuously strive for the most effective and powerful solutions available. A multi-faceted approach using state of the art software allows EHS teams to take control over every angle of the situation, thereby shifting the safety odds firmly in your favor. The SafetyStratus platform, and its growing collection of fully featured safety modules, continues to lead the way in EHS software innovation, and is there to work alongside you as you work towards achieving your institution’s safety goals.
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Joe comes to the SafetyStratus team with over 15 years of experience in the biological sciences and laboratory management and safety. At the University of Connecticut, and later at the University of the Sciences, Joe managed multiple high-volume biology teaching laboratories. He also worked as an Aquatic Biologist for the Philadelphia Water Department’s Office of Watersheds. Most recently Joe held the position of Laboratory Safety Manager in the University of the Sciences’ Environmental Health & Safety Department, overseeing all aspects of safety inspections and compliance in over 150 campus teaching and research spaces.
Originally from Connecticut, Joe has lived in the Philadelphia suburbs for the last 10 years. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and Biology from the University of Maine at Fort Kent. In his free time, Joe enjoys working out, taking in good football game or movie, and traveling with his wife to sunny Caribbean destinations whenever possible.
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