Salt Lake officials are developing a program to help city employees identify hazardous materials - everything from copy-machine fluid to asbestos - as part of a citywide safety plan.
The program, called "Hazard Communication," comes in response to federal law under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, said city Program Administrator Frank Fraser. "The policy is crucial in certain phases . . . for the overall safety of the city," he told Mayor Palmer DePaulis during a briefing Tuesday.The plan, now in draft form, calls for the formation of a "hazard-compliance team" composed of city employees and appointed by the mayor to inventory city offices to find hazardous materials, Fraser said.
"There's a lot of stuff out there that hasn't been a problem and we want to make sure it doesn't become one," he said.
Common hazardous materials include copy-machine fluid, asbestos, chemicals used in paints, cleaning fluids and asphalt and even PCB, a carcinogenic liquid used in electrical transformers and other industrial equipment.
Materials found to be hazardous will be labeled and an employee-training program will teach people how to safely handle the items, according to the draft report.
The training program will include measures to protect employees from exposure, ways to detect and report hazardous leaks and information on how to determine if an employee has been exposed to a hazardous material, the report said.
Fraser said the focus of the Hazard Communication program is to ensure that materials are disposed of properly so as not to pollute the environment. There is less concern over possible safety issues in the work place, he said.
City employees have encountered hazardous materials on the job but have always contacted appropriate officials and avoided any serious incidents, he said.
Department heads will review the plan at a Nov. 4 cabinet meeting, DePaulis said. "We could start moving on it right after that," Fraser said.