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Hazards in Nonhazardous Materials Storage Areas

hazards-in-nonhazardous-materials-storage-areasSuppose you are doing some work in a rarely visited warehouse in which the client company stores various things made of cloth, particle board, wood, and cardboard.

Is there any danger here? At first glance, many people would think not. We’re around such materials all the time. But when they are warehoused, some dangers may emerge:

  • Fuel density. As you pack more combustible materials into a given storage area, the fuel density rises. A fire can spread rapidly.
  • Vapors. If some of the materials give off gases, ventilation deficiencies can make it a de facto Classified location that just hasn’t been officially classified yet.
  • Rodents. Rodents may nest in the soft materials. Small as they are, these critters can be a big health hazard.

Before working in such an area, do the following:

  • Locate the exits. Note any that are locked.
  • Visually trace the emergency exit path. Test the emergency lights.
  • Assess the fire hazard versus fire protection situation. If the building has a high fuel density, does it also have a sprinkler system or other means of suppressing fire? If it has a gas-based fire suppression system, would you have enough time from your work location to exit before it triggers?
  • Look for, and report, any signs of rodents.

Look carefully for tripping or falling hazards. Are the materials stored safely (e.g., in bins), or are some pieces in the aisles? Can something fall on you?

Source: Mark Lamendola | Mindconnection