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Cooling off is easy!

You can be exposed to hazardous chemicals (spills or waste) while working. During indoor operations, for example, many companies have been surprised by the hazards they find, from hazardous chemicals to asbestos. Below are some tips to help you beat the heat when cleaning up these types of hazardous materials!

How can HAZWOPER involve you?

OSHA requires specific training for those who will respond to clean-up operations. Workers must be trained according to the type of job they will be performing, their job description, and for the specific hazards at the site.

What should you do if a hazardous material is found?

If you are properly trained, act with care and speed. Ensure you don’t allow those who aren’t trained to respond to the emergency. Instead, remind them to follow the companies protocol for emergency action, including reporting the leak, spill, or discovery of a hazardous material or chemical.

What do I do in the event I’m cleaning up a hazardous material or spill, and feel hot, tired, or faint?

One of the potential hazards during a waste or chemical cleanup operation is exposure to heat, especially if air-conditioning isn’t in use. You need to understand safeguards against heat illness. Specifically, you need to:

  • Recognize symptoms of heat illness;
  • Know how to provide first-aid to other employees;
  • Understand how to prevent difficulties from heat illness;
  • Drink about 5-7 ounces of fluids every 15 to 20 minutes; and
  • Use the buddy system (work in pairs) when working in hot conditions.

Key to remember: Know your role in your company's HAZWOPER plan, even if it means evacuating the area to report a chemical release.