While hazardous materials may not be as prevalent in schools as they are elsewhere, there are still plenty of chemicals that have the potential to be dangerous. Knowing where these hazardous chemicals are, and how to maintain compliance is necessary for both the safety of students and to prevent any violations.
One of the most common areas in a school to find hazardous materials is science laboratories and classrooms. Science and chemistry classrooms often require a variety of chemicals to be used in experiments. To maintain compliance, you’ll need to follow a few simple steps. First, a yearly 3rd party environmental health and safety audit will be required. Next, training, a chemical hygiene plan, and an approved list of chemicals must be established. Lastly, the school must set aside a budget for the proper disposal of chemicals once they are used.
Maintaining a safe, clean, and functional school requires the use of products that can be hazardous, which often means that maintenance areas can cause compliance issues if they are not adequately maintained. To stay compliant, we suggest always using what you have on hand before buying more to prevent stockpiling old, half used material. Make sure that proper disposal of unused and old chemical products occurs in an appropriate and timely fashion.
While art classrooms are not as dangerous as they once were, toxic paint and film photography is no longer commonplace, the art classroom still presents several challenges. Toxic paints and glazes should always be disposed of properly. While darkrooms are no longer popular if your school has one make sure that proper container storage for developer and photo fixer and appropriate disposal methods are in place.
Ensuring that all staff and faculty have proper training is essential. OSHA, DEP, and DOE training should all be completed and revisited as necessary. Every school should have a Chemical Hygiene Officer and a Chemical Hygiene Plan to ensure that all compliance is met.
Every year, and potentially every semester, a full chemical inventory should be performed. When completing this, there are several things to consider. Shelf life, banned materials, actual usage, compliance, and waste regulations should all be considered.
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