As previously discussed in our flash, Hazard Assessment is the first step in assessing benzene exposure risks: Our Safety Flash today will address some administrative / engineering controls. Engineering controls adapt or modify the process design and / or flow to reduce the potential for benzene exposure.
Designing filter posts that drain to a tank, rather than to a bucket. Ventilating an area to reduce benzene concentrations. Sending dehy emissions to a low pressure flare, rather than venting to the atmosphere. Enclosing a process that contains benzene. Etc.
Administrative controls involve communicating the hazards of benzene and implementing procedure based hazard controls, such as:
Washing your hands so that ingestion is not possible. Posting signage to warn of the presence of benzene. Rotating workers so that the same people are not always at risk of benzene exposure. Including benzene monitoring in procedures where benzene process steams or associated equipment is opened. Scheduling work so that less people will be in an area where tasks might release benzene. Positioning yourself upwind when opening outdoor filter pots and allowing vapours to disperse before changing filters. Keeping doors open to buildings when equipment containing benzene is opened.
Some people asked, what is if a benzene level is present but are unknown? Well, you may have to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) if benzene levels are unknown or are not controlled adequately by engineering and administrative methods. Since benzene can enter your body by inhalation or skin contact, PPE consists of respiratory protection and skin protection. Note: PPE must be worn correctly and consistently to be effective!
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