Friday, March 29, 2013

Take five minutes to avoid the most common dangerous waste violation

By Mariann Cook Andrews, Outreach Specialist, Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction Program

Why is it that some simple things seem to be the ones that don’t get done? Like putting the cap back on the toothpaste? Forgetting to keep toothpaste closed won’t cause much of a problem, except for the next person who wants to use it.

But what about keeping the lid on a drum of used antifreeze? Or a can of waste solvent?

It seems obvious that we should keep lids tight on containers of dangerous waste. In fact, state rules require this. But Ecology inspectors often find containers that are not properly closed. This has even led to penalties in some cases.

Fortunately, Ecology has just released a training video to help with this problem. Dangerous Waste Containers: an Open and Shut Case, explains the rule on keeping containers of dangerous waste closed, in easy to understand language and pictures.

The five-minute video explains that workers must be sure to lock the rings on drums and screw in the bung plug. They should tightly close lids, screw on caps, and make sure containers are intact. There are locking funnels and container tops that meet the requirement if workers need to frequently add waste to a container.

Besides the danger of spills, containers that are not properly closed can release fumes that can sicken workers and contribute to air pollution.

For more information on how to safely handle dangerous waste at your work site, contact your local Ecology office. You can also see:

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