Ensure a Safe Environment with Effective Hazardous Materials Management

Industry is the leading user of hazardous materials and producer of waste and though industrialization has contributed to the development and progress of the nation, its role in hazardous and toxic waste generation is understood and has moved much of industry into joining with regulatory bodies in developing methods to clean up and dramatically reduce pollution. Yet, although there exist several domestic and international regulations with respect to hazardous materials management for industries, statistics prove that a large number of organizations still do not take all the necessary precautions when handling dangerous substances.

It is not because these corporations and entities are not aware of the dangerous effects of improper
management of hazardous materials and waste on the environment, but because day-to-day business or operations issues often cause a complacent attitude when it comes to implementing safety best practices. And often, it is when a major accident happens that the seriousness of the matter is fully realized. By that time, of course, the extent of damage caused to the environment could be irreversible.

Manufacturing Industries and the Types of Waste Produced

Industry uses all kinds of dangerous materials that are highly flammable, combustible, poisonous and radioactive. Of all the industries, the manufacturing industry uses and produces the greatest amount of hazardous materials and hazardous waste. The following are the hazardous wastes produced by five different manufacturing industries:

* The metal industry produces cyanide waste, heavy metal waste and strong acids and bases.

* The paper and printing industry produces corrosive and ignitable wastes.

* The chemical industry produces reactive and ignitable wastes.

* The furniture industry produces ignitable wastes, solvents and paint wastes.

* The cleaning and cosmetic industry produces ignitable wastes, solvents, heavy metal dusts and sludges.

Effects of Hazardous Wastes on the Environment

If improperly managed, treated, stored, transported or disposed of, hazardous materials and hazardous waste could lead to environmental degradation. Let us look at some of the effects of hazardous materials on the environment.

* Acidification - Acidification refers to the changes in the chemistry of both water and soil caused by the reduction of pH. This happens due to the anthropogenic carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

* Eutrophication - This refers to the increase of phytoplankton in lakes, rivers and oceans causing the depletion of oxygen in water and thereby reducing the population of fish and other species.

* Acid Rain/Snow - This refers to rain or snow that is acidic in nature. It is caused by the emission of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides that react with water molecules in the atmosphere to produce acids.

* Global Warming - Global warming is mainly caused by deforestation and the emission of increasing levels of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Effective Hazardous Materials Management Software

Industries can truly benefit from comprehensive materials management software to track materials from cradle to grave throughout their usage lifecycle. This flexible and comprehensive solution fully automates the purchasing and vendor management process and thus manages every aspect of the materials requirement supply chain. An important aspect of this software is that it tracks different legislation and standards put forward by various agencies and associations, such as OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association).

Thus through effective hazardous waste and hazardous materials management, industries can ensure environmental health and safety.