Enhancing Environmental Health and Safety

Oct. 15, 2003

More than 30 years have elapsed since the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [http://www.epa.gov/], the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) [http://www. osha.gov] and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) [http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/]. In that relatively short time, these government agencies have had a profound impact on industry, the workplace and the community. The following Web sites offer information background about various facets of environmental health and safety (EH&S).

For basic definitions of EH&S terminology and acronyms, go to Stanford University's Chemical Hygiene Plan http://www.stanford.edu/dept/EHS/prod/researchlab/lab/chemhygiene/definitions.htm] or to EH&S Dictionaries [http://www.ehsfreeware.com /diinfo.htm]. The latter is a list of free software available from a variety of sources. A pull-down menu includes links to lists of free EH&S management tools, risk analysis, compliance, reporting, education and training software.

EPA's EH&S background information[http://www.epa.gov/epahome/law-regs.htm] features links to items of particular interest to chemical processing companies. Included are current legislation in Congress, regulations and proposed rules, and non-binding guidance documents (U.S. EPA's Interpretive Documents Collection).

Sutton Technical Books: Help Yourself!! http://www.suttonbooks.net/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=SB1&Category_Code=gfree] has a number of EH&S entries. Several relate to OSHA; one is a pre-startup safety review.

Emergency response

EH&S services have evolved as base lines for emergency preparedness. Carnegie Mellon University's (CMU) [http://www.cmu. edu/ehs/workplacesafe.htm] workplace safety page summarizes the broad scope of activities. Universities all across the country from Washington (WSU) [http://www.ehs. wsu.edu/] to Florida (FSU) [http:// www.safety.fsu.edu/], Maine (UME) [http:// www.ume.maine. edu/~ehs/] to California (UCI) [http://www.ehs. uci.edu/] show similarly detailed EH&S programs. At WSU's site, another links [http://www.ehs.wsu.edu/othrlink.asp] page provides access to public health, bio safety, air and water quality resources. The site also offers tips on "How to Keep Your Computer Running Smoothly" [http://www.ehs.wsu.edu/training/computertips.htm].The University of Pittsburgh EH&S page [http://www.ehs.pitt.edu/msds/MSDS.htm] provides links to Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and chemical information, manufacturers, government agencies, colleges, universities and commercial providers. In addition, there are links to a hazard communication program and hazard communication training program powerpoint slides. Relevant data from across the pond can be found at Oxford University's chemical and other safety information site at

[http://physchem.ox.ac. uk/ MSDS/].

Responsible Care

Information about the chemical industry's Responsible Care program can be found on the American Chemistry Council's Web site [http://www.americanchemistry.com/].

Individual company Web sites also offer information on the program. The EH&S website of Dow Chemical [http://www.dow.com/environment/ ehs.html], for example, explains the company's pledge to Responsible Care and sustainable development. It also provides access to policies and goals, reports and speeches, and debates and dilemmas. BASF Corp.'s

[http://www. basf.com/static/OpenMarket/Xcelerate/Preview_cid-97423665 7842_pubid-974129513031_c-Article.html] EH&S page provides similar links.

Toxicology tools

Data on pesticide toxicology and environmental chemistry are available from Extoxnet [http://ace.ace.orst.edu /info/extoxnet/ghindex.html]. Specific chemical pesticides are listed along with their toxicologies. An environmental toxicology newsletter is also available. Essential Bookmarks for Toxic Tort Litigators [http://www.toxlaw.com/boomarks/ laws.html] provides quick access to searchable federal and state statutes covering conservation, public health, OSHA and EPA. Links to case law, judicial opinions, procedures and professional environmental associations are included.

Travel updates

The events of September 11, and, subsequently, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) [http://www.dhs.gov/] heightened awareness of workplace and community EH&S issues. Those who travel on business are even more aware of security surrounding the use of public transportation. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) [http://www.tsa .gov/], formed shortly after 9/11, is charged with protecting the nation's transportation systems to ensure movement for people and commerce. Travelers and consumers can review anticipated security procedures at airports [http://www.tsa.gov/public/display?theme=10] and a list of permitted and prohibited items [] at the TSA Web site.

Alan Hodel, Internet Columnist [email protected]

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