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Introduction and Scope cont'd


DOE-HDBK-1139/1-2000
Change Notice No. 1
Introduction and Scope
Why a DOE Chemical Management Handbook?
Chemicals are ubiquitous in DOE's nuclear and non-nuclear operations. Given their
wide application, it is not surprising that chemical incidents or exposures continue
at a rate of approximately one a day. With respect to major accidents, chemicals are
the second leading cause of DOE Type A & B accidents, exceeded only by those
attributed to radiation.
All chemical exposures have the potential for health consequences. Depending on
the toxicology and concentration, the effects of chemical exposures may be
immediate (acid burns) or long term (chronic beryllium disease or cancer). In any
case, chemical exposures may result in life threatening outcomes. Chemicals may
cause physical damage such as explosions or fires resulting in serious injury and
facility damage. Facility and mission related effects might include corrosive actions
that degrade equipment performance (like mercury on copper nickel alloys and
aluminum) and residual contamination that limits the future use of facilities and
equipment. Environmental issues may arise as a result of spills, releases, or waste
chemical inventories. In addition to the health effects, physical damage, or
environmental effects that may result from a chemical incident, there will be a need
to apply scarce resources to the mitigation of the incident.
Despite the 1994 Chemical Vulnerability Study and the management response plan
developed to address its findings, the chemical incident rate to date at DOE has
remained essentially unchanged. To effectively reduce both the number and
magnitude of incidents, DOE needs to effectively use its safety resources to raise
the awareness of chemical hazards and improve chemical safety management.
These resources include expanded use of chemical management best practices,
lessons learned, and existing guidance.
There are numerous DOE, OSHA, and EPA standards, rules, orders, etc., which
contain chemical management requirements as well as lessons learned (Appendix
B) and best practices. Field operations need to ensure chemical management is
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