OSHA Handbook for Small Businesses

Environmental Controls

Environmental Controls

  • Are all work areas properly illuminated?
  • Are employees instructed in proper first-aid and other emergency procedures?
  • Are hazardous substances, blood, and other potentially infectious materials identified, which may cause harm by inhalation, ingestion, or skin absorption or contact?
  • Are employees aware of the hazards involved with the various chemicals they may be exposed to in their work environment, such as ammonia, chlorine, epoxies, caustics, etc.?
  • Is employee exposure to chemicals in the work-place kept within acceptable levels?
  • Can a less harmful method or process be used?
  • Is the work area's ventilation system appropriate for the work being performed?
  • Are spray painting operations done in spray rooms or booths equipped with an appropriate exhaust system?
  • Is employee exposure to welding fumes controlled by ventilation, use of respirators, exposure time, or other means?
  • Are welders and other workers nearby provided with flash shields during welding operations?
  • If forklifts and other vehicles are used in buildings or other enclosed areas, are the carbon monoxide levels kept below maximum acceptable concentration?
  • Has there been a determination that noise levels in the facilities are within acceptable levels?
  • Are steps being taken to use engineering controls to reduce excessive noise levels?
  • Are proper precautions being taken when handling asbestos and other fibrous materials?
  • Are caution labels and signs used to warn of hazardous substances (e.g., asbestos) and biohazards (e.g., bloodborne pathogens)?
  • Are wet methods used, when practicable, to prevent the emission of airborne asbestos fibers, silica dust and similar hazardous materials?
  • Are engineering controls examined and maintained or replaced on a scheduled basis?
  • Is vacuuming with appropriate equipment used whenever possible rather than blowing or sweeping dust?
  • Are grinders, saws, and other machines that produce respirable dusts vented to an industrial collector or central exhaust system?
  • Are all local exhaust ventilation systems designed and operating properly such as air flow and volume necessary for the application, ducts not plugged or belts slipping?
  • Is personal protective equipment provided, used and maintained wherever required?
  • Are there written standard operating procedures for the selection and use of respirators where needed?
  • Are restrooms and washrooms kept clean and sanitary?
  • Is all water provided for drinking, washing, and cooking potable?
  • Are all outlets for water not suitable for drinking clearly identified?
  • Are employees' physical capacities assessed before being assigned to jobs requiring heavy work?
  • Are employees instructed in the proper manner of lifting heavy objects?
  • Where heat is a problem, have all fixed work areas been provided with spot cooling or air conditioning?
  • Are employees screened before assignment to areas of high heat to determine if their health condition might make them more susceptible to having an adverse reaction?
  • Are employees working on streets and roadways where they are exposed to the hazards of traffic, required to wear bright colored (traffic orange) warning vests?
  • Are exhaust stacks and air intakes so located that contaminated air will not be recirculated within a building or other enclosed area?
  • Is equipment producing ultraviolet radiation properly shielded?
  • Are universal precautions observed where occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials can occur and in all instances where differentiation of types of body fluids or potentially infectious materials is difficult or impossible?