Working with hazardous materials is a very dangerous job for anyone working in this field. Besides the fact that the materials being worked with are hazardous, it is good for workers to know why the material is hazardous, is it hazardous or toxic, what kind of training is involved and much more. The first question to figure out is, what exactly is a hazardous material? Depending on which government agency you look into there are several different definitions. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines a hazardous material as any substance or chemical which is a “health hazard” or “physical hazard,” including chemicals which are carcinogens, toxic agents, irritants, corrosives, sensitizers; agents which cause damage to the lungs, skin, eyes, or mucous membranes; chemicals which are combustible, explosive, flammable, oxidizers, pyrophoric, etc. The Environmental Protection Agency has the same definition as OSHA but will include; any item or chemical which can cause harm to people, plants, or animals when released by spilling, leaking, pumping, emitting, emptying, discharging, injecting, escaping, leaching, dumping, or disposing into the environment (40 CFR 261). Last but not least, the Department of Transportation (DOT) defines hazardous materials as a substance or material that is capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety, and property when transporting in commerce, and has been designated as hazardous under the federal hazardous materials transportation law.

So why mention all that? It is important to know the difference between each agency because they all play an important role in helping to keep workers and the environment safe while working with hazardous materials. Safety in this field is on the rise with the help of these agencies’ workers have can be as safe and healthy as possible while working with hazardous materials.

Year Manuscript Completed

Spring 2021

Senior Project Advisor

Scott M. Douglas, Ed.D

Degree Awarded

Bachelor of Integrated Studies Degree

Field of Study

Safety Sciences

Document Type

Thesis - Murray State Access only