Student Handout #1

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Student Handout #1

Work together in your group to answer these questions. Guessing is OK. You won’t be graded on your answers. Pick one person in your group to report your answers to the class later.
Check the correct answer.
1. The law says your employer must give you training about health and safety hazards on your job.

_ True _ False _ Don’t know

2. The law sets limits on how late you may work on a school night if you are under 16.

_ True _ False _ Don’t know

3. If you are 16 years old, you are allowed to drive a car on public streets as part of your job.

_ True _ False _ Don’t know

4. If you’re injured on the job, your employer must pay for your medical care.

_ True _ False _ Don’t know

5. How many teens get seriously injured on the job in the U.S.?

_ One per day _ One per hour _ One every 7 minutes _ Don’t know

Student Handout #2

Page 1
How to Read a Material Safety Data Sheet

When a worker is given information by an employer on a hazardous substance, it will often be in the form of a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). The MSDS is prepared by the product's manufacturer and provides basic information on the chemical's physical properties and related health effects. The MSDS provides guidance on using, storing and handling substances safely on the job and in emergencies such as fires and spills. Unfortunately, information presented on an MSDS may be incomplete. This is particularly true for information on health effects that workers may experience from low-level chemical exposure over a long period of time.

Although MSDS's have limitations, they can serve as a valuable starting point in getting health and safety information about chemicals you work with. Because the information they provide is of a technical nature, a brief description for each of the nine commonly used sections along with their terms is presented below.

Section I - Product Identification

This information identifies the manufacturer and product. The substance may be listed by its formal chemical name or by its trade name. If the product is a mixture of several chemicals, only the trade name will be listed.

Synonym. Another name for the material. Methyl alcohol, for example, is also known as methanol or wood alcohol.
Section II - Hazardous Ingredients

This section identifies hazardous ingredients and exposure limits. Product ingredients are listed by percentage of total weight. Information should be given on what amount of the ingredient causes ill effects: this amount may be stated as a TLV, PEL, or LD50. The TLV (Threshold Limit Value) is a recommended maximum average concentration over an 8-hour workday. The PEL (Permissible Exposure Limit) is the exposure limit set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration; unlike the TLV, it can be enforced by law. The LD50 is the lethal dose concentration that, in experiments, kills 50% of the test animals. Remember that this information is only for the individual ingredient, not for the entire mixture.

TLV. Threshold Limit Value; a term used by the American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienists to describe the amount of a material that almost anyone can be exposed to day after day without harmful effects. The TLV can be described in three different ways:
TLV-TWA. The Time Weighted Average amount allowed for a normal 8-hour workday or 40-hour work week. If only "TLV" is listed, it usually refers to this value.

TLV-STEL. The Short-Term Exposure Limit, or maximum amount for a 15- minute exposure period. (At the most, only four such 15-minute periods are allowed per day, with at least 60 minutes between exposure periods. And, these four 15-minute periods should not add up to more than the daily TLV-TWA, described above).

TLV-C. The Ceiling Exposure Limit. This is the amount that exposures should never rise above, even for an instant.
PEL. The amount of a substance in the air that any employee may be exposed to over an 8-hour work shift. This number can be an average or maximum exposure limit.
Student Handout #2

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The PEL is enforceable by OSHA and is believed to protect workers from damaging health effects.

"Skin" or "S". A notation sometimes used with PEL or TLV; it indicates that the substance may be absorbed through unbroken skin, or through mucous membranes and eyes, by direct or airborne contact-and that this additional exposure must be added into the total exposure to avoid going over the PEL or TLV.
mg/m3. Milligrams of substance per cubic meter of air; a unit for measuring concentrations of dusts, gases or mists in air.
mg/kg. Milligrams of substance per kilogram of body weight; used generally for solids or liquids taken in by mouth rather than inhaled substances.
ppm. Parts per million; a unit for measuring the concentration of a gas or vapor in air, i.e. the number of parts (by volume) of a gas or vapor in a million parts of air. Also used at other times to indicate the amount of a liquid or solid.
Section III - Physical Data

The physical properties of a substance give clues to the type of hazard it may present, meaning whether it is liquid, solid or gas at room temperature, how much vapor it forms, whether the vapor rises or settles and whether it dissolves in water.

Boiling Point. The temperature at which the liquid boils at sea level. Ranges are presented for mixtures. In general, a low boiling point means the substance will be in gas form at room temperature (unless it is pressurized). Carbon monoxide has a boiling point of -310°F, so it is normally a gas. Water has a boiling point of 212°F. Ethylene oxide has a boiling point of 53.6°F; above this it is a gas, below it is a liquid. Materials that can catch fire and also have a low boiling point generally present greater fire hazards.

Vapor Pressure. Measured in millimeters of mercury and indicates how easily a liquid will evaporate. Solids have no vapor pressure and don't evaporate. Liquids that evaporate easily have higher vapor pressures and the amounts in the air can build up quickly. Good ventilation is necessary to prevent breathing in materials like solvents that have high vapor pressures.
Vapor Density. The weight of vapor or gas compared with an equal volume of air. Air has been assigned a value of one. Vapors that are heavier than air, such as gasoline or hydrogen sulfide, have a vapor density greater than one and accumulate in low places, along floors, in sewers, tank bottoms, manholes and elevator shafts where they may create fire or health hazards.
Percent Volatile. The percent of a liquid or a solid (by volume) that will evaporate at an ambient temperature of 70°F (unless some other temperature is stated). Examples: butane, gasoline and mineral spirits are 100% volatile; their individual evaporation rates vary, but over a period of time each will evaporate completely.
Evaporation Rate. The rate at which a particular material will vaporize (evaporate) when compared with the rate of vaporization of a known material. Usually normal butyl acetate (n-BuAc), with a vaporization rate designated as 1.0, is used for comparison. The evaporation rate can be useful in evaluating the health and fire hazards of a material.
Student Handout #2

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Fast-evaporating solvents can quickly release hazardous amounts of vapors into the air.

Solubility in Water. The quantity of a substance, by weight, that will dissolve in water at room temperature. Expressed as a percentage or by one of the following terms: negligible-less than 0.1%; slight-0.1 to 1%; moderate-1 to 10%; appreciable-greater than 10%; complete-100%. This is useful for determining spill cleanup procedures and how a material will act in the environment. Gases with low or medium-range water solubility, such as nitrogen dioxide or chlorine, are more likely to reach the deep tissues of the lungs, and highly soluble gases will dissolve in the moist mucous membranes of the upper airways.

Specific Gravity. The ratio of the weight of a volume of the substance to the weight of an equal volume of water. A specific gravity greater than one means the substance will sink in water; if specific gravity is less than one, it will float on water.
Appearance and Odor. May help identify the material. However, odor is not a reliable indicator of the concentration of the substance in air. Gasoline, for example, has a detectable odor at very low concentrations; carbon monoxide, on the other hand, has no odor even at lethal concentrations.
Section IV - Fire And Explosion Hazard

Flash Point. The lowest temperature at which enough vapor is formed by a liquid so that the air/vapor mixture will burst into flames when exposed to an ignition source such as a spark from static electricity or a burning cigarette. A flash point near or below room temperature (77°F) indicates that the material is especially dangerous because explosive vapors can form without additional heating.
Flammable Limits. The lowest and highest concentrations of vapor or gas in the air (by percent volume) that will burst into flames when exposed to a spark or flame. The Lower Explosive Limit is the LEL (below this the air/substance mix is too lean to burn). Substances with a wide range of flammable concentrations, such as ether, may burst into flames near or far from the ignition source. Materials with narrow flammable limits may burn only near the ignition source. In terms of evaluating explosion hazards, the LEL value is considered the most important. The lower the LEL, the less of the substance needed in the air before it can ignite. Upper Explosive Limit is the UEL.

Unusual Fire and Explosion Hazards. May cover factors such as release of toxic or irritant gases in a fire. Fire conditions vary widely, and for this reason, it is difficult to predict the exact composition of combustion products that would result from a fire.

Extinguishing Media. What to use to put out a fire. The usual materials are water, fog, foam, alcohol foam, carbon dioxide and dry chemicals.
Special Fire-Fighting Procedures. Special protective equipment or measures may be recommended.
Student Handout #2

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Section V - Health Hazards

This section provides a combined estimate of the total hazard of the product, including the ways that exposure may occur, effects of short-term (acute) and longterm (chronic) overexposure (such as signs, symptoms and disease that would result from short-term or long-term exposure), the acceptable air concentration of the substance, and emergency and first-aid procedures. The workplace standard may be stated as a TLV or PEL, or it may be an LD50, which does not indicate the amount that is safe but how toxic the substance is (the lower the LD50, the more toxic the substance). Acute exposure data are usually more detailed and accurate than chronic exposure data. In fact, chronic data are often not listed at all.
Section VI - Reactivity

This section describes how the substance will react under particular circumstances.

Stability. Indicates whether the substance may decompose (disintegrate) over time. It is used to help decide how and where the material is stored.
Incompatibility. Indicates chemicals that should not come into contact with this substance. Mixing may result in fire, release of toxic gases or buildup of pressure in a container.
Hazardous Decomposition Products. Includes hazardous materials released during fires and created by aging of the product.

Hazardous Polymerization. Polymerization is a chemical reaction in which small molecules combine to form larger molecules. If this reaction occurs with an uncontrolled release of energy, it is a hazardous polymerization. This section should list storage procedures and the shelf life of the chemical.

Section VII - Spill And Disposal Procedures

This section indicates methods for cleanup and disposal of hazardous materials. Precautions to protect workers may be listed.

Section VIII - Protective Measures

This section describes the equipment and ventilation procedures that should be used when working with the substance. Respirators, eye protection, garments, gloves, boots and other protective equipment should be specified by type and material of construction.

Section IX - Special Precautions

Precautions not listed elsewhere in the MSDS are described in this section. It may include cleaning or disposing of contaminated clothes, handling procedures, storage information, label statements, etc.

© 2008 American Lung Association®. All rights reserved. Materials on the American Lung Association Website may be reproduced for personal or educational purposes only, and you must include any copyright notice originally included with the Materials in all copies.

(ALA logo)

Student Handout #2

Page 5
MSDS for ethyl alcohol.

Student Handout #3
Find the Hazards: Fast Food

Student Handout #4
Find the Hazards: Grocery Store

Student Handout #5
Find the Hazards: Office

Student Handout #6

Find the Hazards: Gas Station

Student Handout #7
Find the Hazards: Nursing Home

Nursing home picture from:

Student Handout #8
Find the Hazards: ICU

ICU picture from:

Student Handout #9
Hunting for Hazards
List the Hazard and Possible Harm in various areas.
Area: _____________

Area: _____________

Area: _____________

Student Handout #10

Page 1
Info Search

A. Worksheet

Your team will be assigned one scenario to research from part C of this handout. Work with your team to answer the questions below. Once all team members have completed their research, discuss and agree on the answers you want to report to the rest of the class. Pick someone in your team to make a brief report.

1. What is the health and safety problem (hazard) in your scenario?
2. What information might you be able to get at the workplace? Where would you get it?

3. Pick three possible sources outside the workplace where you could get information. These must include at least one government agency, and at least one organization or agency that is not part of the government. You can search the internet, or request information by phone. A few suggested resources are listed in part B of this handout. However, you do not need to limit yourself to these. Each team member can get information from a different source, or you can work together. Use these sources to answer the following questions.

Short-term health effects. How could this hazard affect your body right away?
Information / Source
Student Handout #10

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Long-term health effects. How could this hazard affect your body over time?

Information / Source
Solutions. What are some possible ways to reduce or eliminate workers’ exposure to this hazard?
Information / Source
4. What was the most important information you learned, and why was it important?
5. Which information source did your team find most useful, and why?
Student Handout #10

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B. Resources: Where To Get Information

Here are some websites and phone numbers to get factsheets and other information on health and safety hazards.
Government Agencies
New Jersey Occupational Health Services

Website contains “Right To Know—Hazardous Substance Fact Sheets” for over 1500 chemicals.
NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)

Conducts research on hazards and has free publications on chemicals, ergonomics, child labor, and other hazards. (child labor page)

(800) 356-4674
OSHA (U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration)

Develops and enforces federal regulations and standards. Offers free publications and a video library.

(800) 321-OSHA

Other Organizations

AFL-CIO Safety and Health on the Job

Basic health and safety information, including an alphabetical listing of direct links to fact sheets developed by unions and OSHA. Some are available in Spanish.

Student Handout #10

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Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP), University of California, Berkeley

Trains workers, unions, joint labor-management committees, and others on health and safety. Sells publications and videos. Offers assistance and referrals on young workers, workplace violence, hazardous waste, ergonomics, and more. (links by hazard and topic)

(510) 642-5507

NYCOSH (New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health)

Website has internet links and resources on health and safety by industry and

topic, as well as basic information on health and safety rights on the job.

Vermont SIRI (Safety Information Resources Inc.)

Website contains links to many health and safety resources. Specializes in

Material Safety Data Sheets.

Additional Resources for Information on Safety in Healthcare Settings
OSHA (U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration)

Hospital Safety eTool

Describes common hazards and potential safety solutions for workers in healthcare settings.

(800) 321-OSHA

NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)

Safety and Health Topic: Healthcare Workers

This section of the NIOSH website offers information on preventing injuries to workers in healthcare settings.

(800) 356-4674

Student Handout #10

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U.S. Department of Labor

Fact Sheets
Compiled by the US DOL’s Employment Standards Administration, these fact sheets provide quick and easy to read information on the child labor laws, wage and hour requirements, and much more.

(866) 487-9243

Fact Sheet #52—The Health Care Industry and Youth Employment
The Massachusetts Nurses Association

The MNA has many resources for nurses and healthcare workers, and has an extensive section on health and safety topics, including workplace violence prevention.

(781) 821-4625

Sustainable Hospitals

This organization provides technical support to the healthcare industry for selecting products and work practices that reduce occupational and environmental hazards. The website allows you to look at information on various occupational hazards, including chemical and sharps exposures.

(978) 934-3386

Student Handout #10

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C. Scenarios

Scenario A: Big Box Foods

Kevin works in a warehouse. He’s seventeen years old. One day, when he was loading 40-

pound boxes onto a wooden pallet, he suddenly felt a sharp pain in his lower back. He had

to stay out of work for a week to recover, and his back still hurts sometimes. He is worried

about re-injuring his back, and tries to be careful, but he wants to find out more about safe

lifting and other ways to prevent back injuries.

Scenario B: Brian’s Computer Station

Brian has been working for six months as an administrative assistant in a large office. He is

the newest employee in the office, and seems to have all the hand-me-down equipment. His

keyboard and mouse sit right on his desktop, along with his computer monitor. The lever to

adjust the height of his chair doesn’t work any more. He works at his computer most of the

day. He knows at least one person in the office who wears braces on her wrists because

they are tender and painful, and who can no longer do a lot of things at home because her

grip is so weak. Brian doesn’t want to develop any problems like that, and wants to find

out what he can do.
Scenario C: Dangerous Paint Stripper

Jessica has a summer job working for the city parks program. She has been using a cleaner

called “Graffiti Gone” to remove graffiti from the bathrooms. She has to take a lot of

breaks, because the chemical makes her throat burn. It also makes her feel dizzy sometimes,

especially when the bathrooms don’t have very many windows. On the label, she sees that

the cleaner has methylene chloride in it. She feels like she’s managing to get the work

done, but she is worried about feeling dizzy. She wants to find out more about this

chemical, what harm it can cause, and whether there are safer ways to do this work.

Scenario D: Noise at Work

Ediberto is 18 years old, and has been working for a company that manufactures

prefabricated homes for about a year. He spends a lot of the work day using a power saw.

His ears usually ring for awhile in the evening, but it seems to clear up by the morning. He

is a little worried about whether it’s damaging his hearing, but it’s not that different than

how his ears feel after a rock concert. He wants to find some information on how much

noise is bad for you, and what he can do.

Scenario E: Needles in the Laundry Stack

Simone works as an aide in a nursing home. Her best friend’s cousin Julia works in the

laundry department. Simone has heard Julia complain about the medical staff, because used

hypodermic needles sometimes show up in the dirty laundry. Simone is worried about

Julia, but also doesn’t think the medical staff could be that careless. She wants more

information on what can be done.

Student Handout #10

Page 7
Scenario F: Stop and Shop

Sarah works in a convenience store. She and the other employees take turns working the

closing shift. It makes her nervous to be at the store by herself late at night, but she knows

if she refuses the closing shifts, the owner will just look for someone else for the job. She

carries mace in her purse, and the owner has told her to give up the cash in the cash register

if she is ever faced with a robber, but she wants to find out what else can be done so she

will feel safe.

Scenario G: Trouble with Gloves

Janelle works as a nurse’s aide at a nursing home. After working there for a few weeks, her hands, arms and face started to itch, and she noticed she was wheezing a little by the end of the workday. One day, after the itching was particularly bad, she woke up to find that everything that itched was red and swollen, and her eyes were even swollen shut. She went to the occupational health clinic at the local hospital, where they told her she might be allergic to the latex gloves they use in the nursing home, but they would have to do some tests to confirm it. While she’s waiting for the results, Janelle wants to find out as much as she can about latex allergy.

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