Handling and Storing Hazardous Materials Putting Safety First

It takes a lot of different tools and materials to keep multifamily buildings looking, smelling and functioning at their best. That means that maintenance crews, contractors, snow removal teams and other staff members must rely upon sometimes harsh and hazardous chemicals, as well as potentially dangerous tools, to get their jobs done. 

When it comes to properly storing, handling and disposing of those materials, it is imperative that all rules, regulations, and guidelines are followed in order to ensure the safety of not only the staff and those working with the materials directly, but also of every resident in the building or association. 

Hazards on Deck

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines household hazardous materials or waste as certain “leftover household products that can catch fire, react or explode under certain circumstances, or that are corrosive or toxic.” This includes products such as paints, cleaners, oils, batteries and pesticides, to name a few. 

In Florida, according to Marcy L. Kravit, Executive Manager at Atlantic II at the Point, a condo association in Aventura. “Management is responsible for knowing and understanding the proper methods of storing chemicals and the hazards associated with storage of chemicals on the property. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) should be on site and written procedures prepared, posted, and followed by trained employees. Management should carefully plan for emergencies and work with first responders to mitigate incidents that occur by ensuring that eyewash stations are made available in the event of an incident.”

The types and amounts of materials found in co-op or condo buildings “depends on how much work the building staff does itself,” versus hiring out maintenance or landscaping duties to outside contractors, says Richard Lester, President of Garden State Environmental Inc., in Glen Rock, New Jersey. 

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