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Loss Control Insights for Schools

Celebrating 20 Years of ChemEyes

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EMC’s school chemical management program turns 20 this year. The winner of an EPA SC3 award, the ChemEyes program has supported schools in developing effective chemical management systems and creating safer environments for staff, students and community members.

ChemEyes provides a third-party review and helps find specific solutions to school chemical management needs. Every year, EMC professionals find over 20,000 pounds of chemicals in schools. In total, they have assisted with the disposal of more than 580,000 pounds of chemicals in school buildings, including over 20,000 pounds of potentially explosive and pyrophoric chemicals.

This unique program allows chemical management experts to work alongside faculty and staff to identify and accurately assess school chemicals. EMC is proud to have served school districts for 20 years and to continue helping to reduce liability and create safer schools in the future.

What is ChemEyes?

Staff turn-over, over-purchasing due to perceived budget constraints, finding better products and curriculum changes can all lead to a buildup of unwanted, unknown and unneeded chemicals. Some of these materials may become unstable or potentially explosive over time and may include legacy chemicals that are now controlled substances or radioactive. All of these can create hazards and lead to injuries and property damage.

ChemEyes provides schools with training and guidance on proper chemical management including labeling, safe handling, storage and disposal. Any school that has general liability insurance with EMC is eligible for ChemEyes services.

After completing an on-site inspection, in which EMC staff review the current chemical inventory along with health and safety practices, schools will be provided with:

  • An inventory of chemicals that are disposable
  • Guidelines for hazardous waste disposal
  • Site-specific training for staff members regarding chemical management and disposal
  • An illustrated inspection report outlining health, safety and environmental concerns
  • Assistance with chemical disposal price quoting

How to Improve School Chemical Management

School chemical management is essential for reducing risk to students and staff, as well as aiding in organizational efficiency and property safety. There are steps that can be taken to ensure appropriate quantities of chemical supplies are present to support current operations, as well as overall health and safety in your school. With the help of ChemEyes training and the recommendations below, schools will be able to design effective chemical management programs.

Establish a Purchasing Policy – Chemical purchases should be limited to a two-year supply to support current curriculum or operations. It is important to monitor the amount of chemicals being brought into the school, as well as the manner they are brought in; the donation of chemicals should be prohibited. The centralization of purchasing can assist in limiting the amount of chemicals brought into the school, and provide a review of the hazards those materials will bring.

Conduct Annual Inventories – All chemicals and storage facilities should be inventoried once a year in order to identify current supplies and any surpluses or hazardous materials. Art rooms, custodial closets, tech shops and science labs should all have current chemical inventories.

Keep Records – Maintain safety data sheets for all chemicals and accurately label chemical containers. A current, complete, chemical hygiene plan and spill response plan should be in place.

Review School Needs – Not every chemical is necessary. Regular reviews of curriculum can create a better understanding of classroom needs. If it is possible to use less hazardous chemicals, find an alternative. Be sure to examine the chemical hazard information, safety precautions, chemical usage best practices, quantity, storage requirements and disposal methods for all chemicals.

It is recommended to connect with EMC ChemEyes professionals every ten years, to avoid chemical accumulation. For more information, please contact your independent insurance agent or local EMC branch office. To register, email chemeyes@emcins.com.

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