OSHA Regulations and Hazardous Waste Management: 4 Things you Need to Know

Most businesses are familiar with the environmental regulations surrounding hazardous waste and its disposal-most of which come from the EPA. However, many people are not aware of the workplace standards and regulations under OSHA that can affect personnel and business aspects of your workplace.OSHA works with the concept of workplace health that is labeled “industrial hygiene” in OSHA terminology.

What is industrial hygiene?

Per OSHA, industrial hygiene “is the science of anticipating, recognizing, evaluating, and controlling workplace conditions that may cause workers’ injury or illness.”

Per OSHA, the workplace health of your business is evaluated by professionals called industrial hygienists. They use ““environmental monitoring and analytical methods to detect the extent of worker exposure” and “employ engineering, work practice controls, and other methods to control potential health hazards.”

Industrial hygienists monitor the workplace, also known as exposure monitoring. It’s a process of evaluating and documenting employee potential exposures to biological, chemical and physical hazards.

Why is Industrial Hygiene important?

OSHA has industrial hygienists that perform a workplace analysis. This analysis assesses both exposure to hazardous waste materials in the workplace, as well as methods and procedures used to keep workers safe. These assessments are done to ensure any business with hazardous waste materials is following OSHA standards and regulations for workplace health.

Ignoring these regulations has implications both inside and outside the workplace. From a business perspective, improper monitoring of workplace health (“industrial hygiene”) and the hazardous wastes involved in that can cause potential cases of fines in the business.

Also, when your workers go home, the workplace exposure to these health hazards expands to their friends and families. So it’s doubly important that hazardous waste exposure is handled correctly in the workplace.

What are some chemical and bio hazards that relate to hazardous waste removal?

Chemical hazards can be solids, liquids, gases, mists, dusts, fumes, and/or vapors that are deemed toxic and that might be incidentally ingested, inhaled, or absorbed into the human body.

Biological hazards (e.g. from medical waste) can be bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other living organisms that can enter the human body (directly or indirectly) and thereby cause infection.

The amount of risk or danger to your workers is evaluated by the nature and potency of the toxin, the frequency and duration of exposure, as well as the amount to which they’re exposed.

Get an Industrial Hygiene Assessment

Whether you’re familiar with OSHA procedures or not, you want to spot any violations before OSHA does.  Industrial Hygiene consultants can be hired to do an industrial hygiene assessment of your workplace. This evaluation will spot any potential issues or workstations that might violate OSHA standards and regulations, allowing you to fix any outstanding issues before they are spotted by an OSHA officer.

It’s essential to talk to an expert in industrial hygiene and OSHA requirements. Their advice will be instrumental in creating workplace health and avoiding issues with OSHA.

For more information on hazardous waste disposal, please contact HWH Environmental at 1-877-777-6708.

Author: Mark Chocola

With over 25 years of experience in the hazardous waste disposal industry, Mark Chocola is one of the driving forces behind HWH Environmental that are committed to providing safe, compliant, and cost-effective hazardous waste solutions. His deep industry knowledge and dedication to customer service have made HWH Environmental a trusted partner for businesses across the United States.