Fun_People Archive
20 Jan
The OSHA Hazards Hit Parade

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Wed, 20 Jan 99 19:37:56 -0800
To: Fun_People
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Subject: The OSHA Hazards Hit Parade

X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649
From: Jim Hickstein

The outfit across the parking lot (in San Jose, CA, USA) had a sign on
their building:

  4   4

in colors red, blue, yellow, and white.  (You OSHA types know what I

I grabbed a nearby catalog of safety-happy stuff, and learned that these
numbers mean (blue) health risk, (red) fire risk, and (yellow) reactivity,
and they go from zero to ... 4.  (Example:  red 3 = flash point < 100 deg
F; red 4 = flash point < 70 deg F!; yellow 3 = it blows up if you look at
it cross-eyed; yellow 4 = it just blows up; blue 3 = milligrams kill you in
seconds; blue 4 = micrograms kill you in milliseconds.  The white square
can contain things like "OX", oxidizer, or "W" with a bar through it,
meaning "don't put water on this.")

I went over to wonder just what the _hell_ goes on.  An outfit with maybe
10 employees, and they directed me to the full-time "safety officer", who
obligingly gave me a sheet listing all the chemicals they had in their
little cage out back (ringed with concertina wire).  Tungsten hexafluoride
sticks in my mind, for some reason.  One line was annotated "smells like
rotting fish."  (Do they have a videotape of a guy in a chamber somewhere
saying, "Hey!  It smells like rotting fi..." *thump* ?)

It turned out that they make chemical-vapor-deposition equipment for the
semiconductor industry, so they have every chemical that any of their
customers has.  Holy shit.  I've seen some 4-4-3's, but never another 4-4-4.
The fire department probably has a black circle on their map around this
spot, labelled "run away".

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