CARF Health & Safety Standards – Hazardous Materials

The January-February 2014 newsletter of Behavioral Health Resources, LLC focuses on CARF standards for hazardous materials.  In the Health and Safety section of the 2013 BH/CYS/OTP Standard Manuals, standard 1.H.14 states that there should be written procedures concerning hazardous materials that provide for safe handling, storage, and disposal.

Many employees may not realize that this includes fluorescent light bulbs, copier toner, and computer monitors.  Because all organization have these items in their offices, the requirement for written procedures likely pertains to every CARF-accredited organization. Information about these hazardous materials is provided below.

Fluorescent Light Bulbs.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): fluorescent light bulbs“Under federal regulations, the vast majority of mercury-containing lamps are considered a hazardous waste. If you do not test your mercury-containing lamps and prove them non-hazardous, you must assume they are hazardous waste and handle them accordingly . . . . Management and disposal by businesses of fluorescent light bulbs and other mercury-containing bulbs are managed under both federal and state regulations . . . . Regulations may vary from state to state, and some states have regulations that are more stringent than those of the federal government.  As a result, you should check with your state and local governments to learn how their regulations apply to your business.”

What’s an easy way to know if a fluorescent light bulb contains mercury or similar hazardous material?  The Lamp Material Data Sheet (LMDS) is a good source of information.  This is available when the light bulb is purchased or can likely be found on-line.  As an example, click here to obtain the LMDS for a Philips linear fluorescent light bulb. This light bulb is sold at stores such as Home Depot and is advertised for residential and industrial use.  For information about safe handling, recycling, and disposal of fluorescent light bulbs, read more . . .

Copier Toner.  How is copier toner a hazardous material?  As described in an on-line article by Kyle McBride:  “In modern copy machines, the toner cartridges and toner 16802-sharp-ar-202ft-copier-toner-1delivery systems are designed and intended to function in such a way that there is no human contact with the toner.  The reality is, however, that the copy machine operators do come into contact with toner.  Cartridges malfunction, components in the machine break exposing toner to the environment, and there can be unfused toner on paper pulled from the machine when clearing a paper jam.  These are ordinary ways that a copy machine operator can be exposed to toner.”  Click here to learn more about safe cleanup and disposal. Information is also available in the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) which is available from the manufacturer.

Computer Monitors. A s reported by R-Tools Technology, Inc:  “Computer monitors, as computer monitorwell as other electronic equipment, is considered hazardous waste.  Computer monitors and other eWaste can be harmful if it is left in a landfill, as it contains a number of chemicals and compounds that can seep into the groundwater and soil.  These harmful substances can be reintroduced into the environment or even into drinking water supplies.”  Safe disposal of computer monitors can be done in several ways: donate it; participate in an e-Waste collection drive; send it to the manufacturer; or bring it to a Big Box Store.  Read more . . .

© 2014 Behavioral Health Resources, LLC. All rights reserved.

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