Step 9: Implementing Decontamination Procedures

Date First Published on SafetySmart Compliance: February 21st, 2012
Topics: Hazwoper & Emergency Response |

Under Hazwoper (Sec. 1910.120(k)), employers must develop, implement and communicate to employees a decontamination procedure before employees or equipment may enter areas where there’s a potential of exposure to hazardous substances. Here’s what’s required.

Click here for Model Decontamination Procedures to include in your HASP.

Development of Decontamination Procedure

Standard operating procedures must be developed to minimize employee contact with hazardous substances or equipment that has contacted them.

All employees leaving a contaminated area must be appropriately decontaminated. All contaminated clothing or equipment must be decontaminated or disposed of.

Monitoring of Decontamination Procedure

Decontamination procedures must be monitored by the site safety and health supervisorto determine their effectiveness. Appropriate steps must be taken to correct any decontamination procedures found to be ineffective.

Procedures to Be Used

The standard explains what decontamination procedures must provide for:

  • Decontamination must be carried out in geographic areas the minimize exposure of uncontaminated employees or equipment to contaminated employees or equipment;
  • Equipment and solvents used for decontamination must be decontaminated or properly disposed of;
  • PPE and equipment must be decontaminated, cleaned, laundered, maintained or replaced as needed to maintain their effectiveness;
  • Employees whose non-impermeable clothing gets wet with hazardous substances must immediately remove the clothing and get into a shower. The clothing must be decontaminated or disposed of before it’s removed from the work zone;
  • Unauthorized employees must not remove protective clothing or equipment from change rooms;
  • Commercial laundries or establishments that decontaminate protective clothing or equipment must be informed of the potentially harmful effects of exposure to hazardous substances; and
  • Showers and change rooms needed to implement the decontamination procedure must be provided by the employer.

OSHA Guidelines

Compliance Guidelines (Appendix C)