Keep in mind that the NFPA diamond is designed forFIREFIGHTERS, NOT chemists and laboratory personnel. In most cases, a firefighter does not care about the exact value of the LD50. Water is toxic in a sufficiently high dose, but in a fire situation a firefighter is going to consider it a “0” – no health hazard – regardless of the amount that is present.
As a chemist who spent 12 years on a professional industrial firefighter crew, I can tell you that most firefighters care about the following: Is it highly flammable or not? Is it water-reactive or not? Is it a serious health hazard or not? Is it reactive or not? If the answer is “not”, then a ZERO makes perfect sense.
Monona is correct: “We have a real chance here to finally teach people something real and useful in hazcom. Let's not confuse the issue with the NFPA diamond.” My translation: “We need to teach people about the hazards, but we need to make sure people know the difference between GHS and NFPA so they don’t confuse them.”
We should allow GHS to teach us about Hazcom, but we should also allow the (unaltered) NFPA diamond to provide the BASIC information that is needed by firefighters. If you cannot tell the difference between a NFPA diamond and a GHS pictogram with its associated class and category, regardless of their different scaling system, then you should not be working with hazardous materials.
Steven J. McLean, CHMM
Laboratory Safety Manager
Risk Management - 241 FB
Office: (801) 422-6879
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU]On Behalf Of Monona Rossol
Sent: Thursday, June 06, 2013 11:05 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] NFPA and OSHA, Harmony?
I'm hoping the NFPA diamond would be either dropped or seriously revised. The very idea that "toxicity" can be represented by a single number from 0 to 4 is misleading. First, there is no "zero" toxicity as NFPA seems to indicate. So the GHS idea of going from high numbers for low toxicity to 1 for highly toxic is better from the get-go.
And the GHS understands that extreme acute toxicity, lower levels of acute toxicity, and chronic toxicity need to be handled separately--especially because many carcinogens and reproductively hazardous substances are acutely non-toxic as demonstrated by LD50s and LD50s, skin/eye damage, respiratory and other acute expressions of toxicity.
We have a real chance here to finally teach people something real and useful in hazcom. Let's not confuse the issue with the NFPA diamond.
Monona Rossol, M.S., M.F.A., Industrial Hygienist
President: Arts, Crafts & Theater Safety, Inc.
Safety Officer: Local USA829, IATSE
181 Thompson St., #23
New York, NY 10012 212-777-0062
From: Secretary, ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <secretary**At_Symbol_Here**DCHAS.ORG>
To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Sent: Wed, Jun 5, 2013 10:15 am
Subject: [DCHAS-L] NFPA and OSHA, Harmony?
Mark Ellison <mellison**At_Symbol_Here**sachsco.com>
Subkect: NFPA and OSHA, Harmony?
Thought I would share this with the group. Interesting…
Assistant Vice President-Safety Director
Sachs Electric Company
St. Louis, Missouri
The key quotes from the article inlcude:
One result of this collaboration is that OSHA does not see any reason for NFPA
704 to be revised in order to correspond with the GHS category numbering...
For now, NFPA and OSHA are working to ensure that the two systems can
effectively work together without significant change. Going forward, experience
from full implementation of the GHS system may demonstrate a need for slight
changes to NFPA’s system, but without the expectation that it would ever be
Previous post | Top of Page | Next post