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October, Cows, and NFPA

by Paula Reavis on October 1, 2015 at 9:00 am · in Paula's Blog, Safety


In October of 1871, the Great Chicago Fire occurred. It raged for almost two days, killing many and leaving even more without homes. There are many stories and legends about how it was started. The most famous is that of Mrs. O’Leary and her cow. The lyrics of the song many will remember from childhood.

Late last night when we were all in bed,
Old Lady Leary left a lantern in the shed.
Well a cow kicked it over, winked his eye and said:
There’s gonna be a hot time in the old town tonight!
Fire! Fire! Fire!

While those lyrics are often sung as part of a children’s song, there is no denying the damage done during those two days. October is now known as National Fire Prevention Month dating as far back as 1922. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has designated the week of October 9th as Fire Prevention Week. This date was chosen as the Chicago fire started on the night of October 8th, but did most of its damage on October 9th.
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Chemical Safety and Back to School

by Paula Reavis on September 29, 2015 at 3:30 pm · in Paula's Blog, Safety


Every year around this time a feeling of nostalgia gets me. As soon as the first sign about “back to school” shows up in a store or on TV, I am transported to my previous life. For over 10 years I taught high school science. Each year there were plans to make, supplies to buy, and students to meet. Thinking on it now from the perspective of a safety professional, it is amazing the chemical hazards present in an everyday school situation.

Being a science teacher it was easy to engage students in their own learning. Usually, all it took was setting up some demonstrations of some basic chemical reactions and everyone was read to go. A few of the more common ones were called Colored Fire, Sugar Snake, and Elephant’s Toothpaste. In each one of these, hazardous chemicals are used to make the reaction. For the Colored Fire, alcohol solutions of various metals are used. The Sugar Snake involves the use of concentrated sulfuric acid. In Elephant’s toothpaste a hydrogen peroxide solution is used. As a teacher you always had to model good safety habits including the proper personal protective equipment and keep students far enough away for the actual demonstration to be safe.
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WHMIS 2015 – Administrative Aspects

by Clifton Brown on August 21, 2015 at 2:49 pm · in Clifton's Blog, Regulation Updates, WHMIS 2015

Looking at WHMIS 2015 from an administrative point of view

Despite the publicity and awareness campaigns around the labels, SDS and classification aspects of WHMIS 2015, there are a few administrative areas that shouldn’t be overlooked.

These elements of the Hazardous Products Act (HPA) and Regulations (HPR) are not related to GHS, but deal with aspects that are important to those with Supplier obligations.

Some of these have become fairly common knowledge (e.g. Canadian supplier, including same supplier on label/SDS, etc.); others have not been widely discussed.

Document Creation/Retention – HPA 14.3

Every Supplier selling (more on this later) or importing a hazardous product for use, handling or storage in a Canadian work place must maintain a “true copy” of both the SDS and label relating to the product at the time of import or sale.
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Time Requirements Under OSHA HazCom 2012

by Paula Reavis on August 13, 2015 at 9:00 am · in GHS (OSHA HazCom & WHMIS 2015), Paula's Blog

Hassock 2012 chemical classification time requirements

As a new order for classifications and label text is begun, the song “Time Is On My Side” by The Rolling Stones comes to my mind. Take a listen here to remind yourself of the rhythm and lyrics. I and many other SDS and Label authors approach each new request with optimism and the hope that a perfect world exists. Believing all of the information needed is supplied by the client, the data needed is readily available and the time needed for work is plentiful.

For any given order there could be multiple products and each product requires an SDS and Label. Each of the products is probably a mixture. In some cases the products are actually mixtures made up of other mixtures. Some of the products have trade secret claims. Taken together, this means we authors start to question what Mick Jagger is saying. Is time really on my side?
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OSHA Plays Video Games for Safety

by Paula Reavis on August 6, 2015 at 9:00 am · in GHS (OSHA HazCom & WHMIS 2015), Paula's Blog, Safety


In 1983 the science fiction film “War Games” was released. The film is set in America at the height of the Cold War where the threat of nuclear war is a topic of much speculation. The plot surrounds a hacker named David, his access to the supercomputer with artificial intelligence called War Operation Plan Response (WOPR) and a friendly game of “Global Thermonuclear War”. This game among others on WOPR was designed to teach the artificial intelligence strategy and planning. A classic line from this movie is, “Shall we play a game?” which is uttered by WOPR.

Apparently, OSHA is following in these same footsteps. OSHA has released a game. (Note: Unity Player required to play)
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