When that msds reaches a facility managers then have

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municate it in a way users can easily understand. When that MSDS reaches a facility, managers then have to make sure workers understand what it con- tains and can safely use the chemical it addresses. Both of these issues can be problematic. The Occupational Safety and Health Administra- tion requires that manufacturers identify the risks of using particular chemicals. This is done through the use of a MSDS, which the manufacturer passes to the user. It is then the user’s responsibility – a facility manager, for instance – to interpret the data in the MSDS and adequately inform and train workers regarding the risks of that chemical. It is a chain, more or less, beginning with the manu- facturer of the chemical and ending with the well
5 The Journal of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering VOLUME 29, NUMBER 2 APRIL 2013 – JUNE 2013 WHAT THEY DIDN’T KNOW HURT THEM: DISSEMINATING RISK INFORMATION TO PREVENT DISASTER informed user. But what occurs when one link in that chain is broken? The 2006 CSB investigation on combustible dust incidents highlights the fact that many times, the information in MSDS is inad- equate or even confusing (CSB, 2006). In the 2006 report, the CSB reviewed 140 MSDS’s for materials known to be combustion hazards to judge how well the MSDS communicated the explosion hazard (CSB, 2006). Forty one percent did not contain any warnings regarding the combustible dust hazard. Fifty nine percent contained some language that referred to the explosive capacity of the dust; how- ever, in many cases the language was unclear and not easily accessible. The CSB noted that only seven of the 140 MSDS reviewed referenced the National Fire Prevention Association’s (NFPA) standard for addressing dust hazards, which is widely seen as the benchmark for controlling combustible dust. Even those seven however, did not express the danger clearly, with the CSB indicating “the nature and placement of combustibility warnings did not clearly emphasize the explosion potential of these materials” (CSB, 2006, p. 38). The CSB’s review indicated that only ten percent of the MSDS that contained a dust hazard warning put the warning itself in the MSDS’s ‘Hazard Identification’ section where users could most easily access it (CSB, 2006). Finally, the CSB report noted that none of the MSDS’s reviewed listed the “ physical properties necessary to determine the explosion potential of the material” (CSB, 2006, p. 38) and that even those that recommended controlling dust accumulation did not explain how doing so would lessen the chance of an explosion. Even a perfectly crafted MSDS can present prob- lems. Depending upon the workforce, relying on a technical document such as an MSDS to fully communicate risk may be problematic, and the subsequent training and communication from an employer needs to take the audience’s needs into account. At the West plant in Kinston, for instance, the majority of the workers were what would be considered working class, blue collar employees with a high school education or less. Therefore, industrial managers employing workers with a

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