OSHA Emergency Action Plans for Funeral Homes

by Chelsea Rosine | May 13, 2019
OSHA Emergency Action Plans for Funeral Homes Although funeral homes do not have specific standard operating procedures, there are several regulations within OSHA’s Industry Standards Code of Federal Regulations that apply. Currently, there are about 21,000 funeral homes in the United States employing around 106,000 people. OSHA regulations are designed to minimize injuries and illness that could occur in the funeral home industry. FuneralCE, a service of WebCE wrote a guide on the three different topics OSHA’s regulations cover and how funeral homes can stay compliant.

Chemical Storage

Proper storage of chemicals in a funeral home is important. The safest way to stay compliant and minimize risk is to reduce the amount of chemicals kept on hand. If chemicals must be kept in-house, they will need to be stored in a safe way for employees, vendors and any outside visitors. Most of the time, storage information can be found on the chemical’s safety data sheet (SDS). It is important to understand how chemicals interact with one another. As a rule of thumb, bases should not be stored with acids and oxidizers should not be stored with organic materials for reducing agents. A barrier should be placed between chemicals that cannot be in close proximity. Store your chemicals in a safety cabinet meant to hold flammable substances to reduce the potential impact to the funeral home in the event there is a fire.

Respiratory Protection

Funeral home employers should create a written respiratory protection program for the safety of their employees. The program will have to be administered to employees as often as necessary. As an overview, the respiratory protection program should include which contaminants are present in the establishment and include the SDS of each product so employees know how to properly use the product. It is a good idea to conduct air monitoring regularly to ensure a safe and healthy environment for your employees.

Formaldehyde Safety

Formaldehyde is one of the most toxic materials used in a funeral home. Exposure to formaldehyde can lead to memory loss, drug abuse, and even cancer. It is necessary to teach employees how to properly use and store formaldehyde while also providing protective gear and proper ventilation. Embalming alternatives to formaldehyde such as Enigma Ecobalming can prevent formaldehyde side effects and/or employee misuse of formaldehyde to help keep employee and visitors safer.

Safety of employees and visitors should be one of the most important initiatives for a workplace. WebCE’s new course, OSHA Emergency Action Plans for Funeral Homes, is designed to help employers and employees understand the importance of workplace safety in a funeral home. It covers the reasons why OSHA was created and how to design and implement a safety emergency plan that could potentially save lives.

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