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Hazard Recognition

Chemical reactivity hazards present serious, sometimes catastrophic danger to workers when the hazard is not thoroughly understood and controlled. Hazardous releases have resulted in fires, explosions, toxic, and/or high-energy events when chemical reactions have gone astray. Conducting safe chemical reactions is key to the chemical manufacturing industry and vitally important to employee health and safety. The following references aid in recognizing chemical reactivity hazards.

  • Identifying Chemical Reactivity Hazards: Preliminary Screening Method (PDF). Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Chemical Safety Alert EPA 550-F-04-004, (2004, May). Identifies the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) preliminary screening method as a tool to help small and medium size facilities identify where chemical reactivity hazards are likely to occur and may be applicable to a wide range of activities including warehousing, repackaging, blending, mixing, and processing.
  • Guidelines for Chemical Reactivity Evaluation and Application to Process Design. American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS), (1995). Provides principles and strategies for the evaluation of chemical reactions, and for using this information in process design and management.
  • Guidelines for Safe Storage and Handling of Reactive Materials. American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS), (1995). Offers guidelines that can significantly reduce the risk or mitigate the severity of accidents associated with storing and handling reactive materials.
  • PSM of Highly Hazardous Chemicals (PDF*). OSHA Fact Sheet, (2002). Discusses OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.119 including its content, why it is necessary, and what industries are covered by the standard.
  • Chemical Safety Program. US Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Health, Safety and Security (HSS). Provides a forum for the exchange of best practices, lessons learned, and guidance in the area of chemical management.
  • Chemical Accidents from Electric Power Outages (PDF). Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Chemical Emergency Preparedness and Prevention Office (CEPPO) Chemical Safety Alert EPA 550-F-01-010, (2001, September). Discusses how power outages and restarts could potentially trigger a serious chemical accident.
  • Safe Storage and Handling of Swimming Pool Chemicals (PDF). Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Chemical Emergency Preparedness and Prevention Office (CEPPO) Chemical Safety Alert EPA 550-F-01-003, (2001, March). Discusses how pool chemicals may become a hazard when they become wetted by a small quantity of water or when they are improperly mixed, such as with other chemicals or reactive materials.
  • Process Safety Management (PDF). OSHA Publication 3132, (2000). Summarizes the OSHA final process safety management (PSM) standard which applies to manufacturing industries including those pertaining to chemicals, transportation equipment, and fabricated metal products.
  • Use Multiple Data Sources for Safer Emergency Response (PDF). Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Chemical Emergency Preparedness and Prevention Office (CEPPO) Chemical Safety Alert EPA-F-99-006, (1999, June). States that a critical consideration when choosing a response strategy is the safety of emergency responders. Adequate information about on-site chemicals can make a difference when choosing a safe response strategy.
  • Urben, P.G., ed. Bretherick's Handbook of Reactive Chemical Hazards. 6th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Science and Technology Books, 2000. Includes every chemical for which documented information on reactive hazards has been identified. Covers more than 5,000 elements and compounds, along with secondary entries involving two or more compounds, and features extensive cross-referencing, which links similar compounds of incidents not obviously related.
  • Dangerously Reactive Liquids and Solids - Hazards. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS). Answers questions about properties and hazards of dangerously reactive chemicals.
  • Fire Hazard From Carbon Adsorption Deodorizing Systems (PDF). Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Chemical Emergency Preparedness and Prevention Office (CEPPO) Chemical Safety Alert EPA 550-F-97-002e, (1997, May). Discusses how activated carbon systems used to adsorb vapors for control of offensive odors may pose a fire hazard when used for certain types of substances, if proper procedures are not followed.
  • Water-Reactive Chemicals, Hazardous Materials Not Covered Under 29 CFR 1910.119. OSHA Hazard Information Bulletin (HIB), (1996, July 3). Highlights a potentially serious hazard regarding materials not covered by the process safety management (PSM) standard, 29 CFR 1910.119.
  • Safe Disposal of Vented Reacting Fluids (PDF). Health & Safety Executive (HSE) Contract Research Report No. 10011996, (1996). Discusses the subject of relief for runaway reactions.
Incident Investigation Reports
  • Accident Investigation Search. OSHA. Enables the user to search the text of Accident Investigation Summaries (OSHA-170 form) for words that may be contained in the text of the abstract or accident description.
  • U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB). An independent federal agency whose mission is to prevent industrial chemical accidents and save lives.
  • How to Prevent Runaway Reactions (PDF). Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Chemical Emergency Preparedness and Prevention Office (CEPPO) Chemical Safety Case Study: Phenol-Formaldehyde Reaction Hazards EPA 550-F99-004, (1999, August). Aims to increase awareness of possible hazards connected with exothermic reactions.
  • Prevention of Reactive Chemical Explosions (PDF). Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Chemical Emergency Preparedness and Prevention Office (CEPPO) Chemical Safety Case Study: Waste Fuel/Oxidizer Reaction Hazards EPA-550-F00-001, (2000, April). Describes the hazards associated with blending waste fuels and reactive chemicals and to offer recommendations to reduce the potential for accidents.
  • BPS, Inc.; West Helena, Arkansas (PDF). Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Chemical Emergency Preparedness and Prevention Office (CEPPO) EPA/OSHA Joint Chemical Accident Investigation Report EPA 550-R-99-003, (1999, April). Describes an accident investigation carried out by the EPA and OSHA. It describes the accident, determines the root causes and contributing factors, and identifies findings and recommendations.
  • Napp Technologies, Inc.; Lodi, New Jersey (PDF). Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Chemical Emergency Preparedness and Prevention Office (CEPPO), Joint EPA/OSHA Chemical Accident Investigation Report EPA-550-F99-004, (1999, March). Describes an accident investigation carried out by the EPA and OSHA. It describes the accident, determines the root causes and contributing factors, and identifies findings and recommendations.
  • Terra Industries, Inc., Nitrogen Fertilizer Facility; Port Neal, Iowa (PDF). Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Chemical Accident Investigation Report. Contains conclusions reached by the EPA chemical accident investigation team regarding the cause of the explosion at the Terra Industries, Inc., Port Neal Complex that occurred on December 13, 1994, and recommendations for preventing future similar occurrences in ammonium nitrate facilities.

*Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300 for assistance accessing PDF materials.

All other documents, that are not PDF materials or formatted for the web, are available as Microsoft Office® formats and videos and are noted accordingly. If additional assistance is needed with reading, reviewing or accessing these documents or any figures and illustrations, please also contact OSHA's Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300.

**eBooks - EPUB is the most common format for e-Books. If you use a Sony Reader, a Nook, or an iPad you can download the EPUB file format. If you use a Kindle, you can download the MOBI file format.

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