New borough system will make it easier to share chemical safety information

All government and school facilities in the Kenai Peninsula Borough will soon have access to an online system for chemical safety information.

After an August 2014 Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspection showed deficiencies in the Bear Creek volunteer fire station, the borough faced a fine and a citation for insufficient Hazard Communication.

The Material Safety Data Sheets, or MSDS, that the borough is required to maintain, which describe the dangerous qualities of chemicals such as bleach, were incomplete, according to Safety Director Brian Smith. Smith said the issue occurred because the fire station was in transition between facilities and some of the records were not yet organized.

The borough was issued a citation and a $1,225 fine that was subsequently reduced to $525 and then written off because the borough could demonstrate that it was actively involved in training its employees and volunteers, Smith said.

“It was fairly minor,” Smith said. “Hazard Communication has for several years been the most cited issue in inspections.”

Hazard Communication is the most commonly cited problem for Alaska waste disposal issues, and the second most commonly cited in all inspections nationally after Fall Protection, according to OSHA. Violations can occur when information on a hazardous material is incomplete, missing or unclear. 

However, the citation inspired the borough to purchase an online system to increase the availability of the MSDS information, called MSDSonline. The borough authorized the purchase of the system in July for $9,624 in 2015 and $8,749 in both 2016 and 2017 to be implemented throughout the borough and the Kenai Peninsula School District. 

Borough employees and school district employees will be able to view the chemicals stored at each location and the related MSDS. The borough is currently working on constructing a compliance structure for the material recording before implementing the program, according to Smith. 

Once up and running, the program will eliminate paper and make communication easier from the central offices to the outer parts of the borough, he said.

“Because the borough is so geographically spread out, the program allows us from a central office to see every location,” Smith said.

More in News

Then Now: Looking back on pandemic response

Comparing messaging from 1918 to 2021

Damage in a corner on the inside of the middle and high school building of Kachemak Selo School Nov. 12, 2019, in Kachemak Selo, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Repair costs rise as school facilities deteriorate

About $420 million worth of maintenance is needed at Kenai Peninsula Borough School District buildings.

Golden-yellow birch trees and spruce frame a view of Aurora Lagoon and Portlock Glacier from a trail in the Cottonwood-Eastland Unit of Kachemak Bay State Park off East End Road on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong)
State Parks to hold meeting on Eastland Cottonwood unit

Meeting will include update on Tutka Bay Hatchery bill

Renewable IPP CEO Jenn Miller presents information about solar power during a meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Company looks to build solar farm on peninsula

It would be roughly 20 times the size of the largest solar farm currently in the state.

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Soldotna Trooper arrested for multiple charges of child sex abuse

He has been a State Trooper in Soldotna since June 2020.

This photo shows the Alaska State Capitol. An Alaska state lawmaker was cited for driving with an open can of beer in his vehicle that another lawmaker said was actually his. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file)
Lawmaker cited for open beer fellow legislator says was his

Republican Sen. Josh Revak plans to challenge the $220 ticket.

Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File
This 2011 photo shows the Taku and Malaspina ferries at the Auke Bay Terminal.
Costs add up as ferry idled nearly 2 years

Associated Press The cost to the state for docking an Alaska ferry… Continue reading

The Federal Aviation Administration released an initiative to improve flight safety in Alaska for all aviation on Oct. 14, 2021. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
FAA releases Alaska aviation safety initiatives

The recommendations, covering five areas, range from improvements in hardware to data-gathering.

AP Photo / Becky Bohrer
The Alaska Capitol is shown on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021, in Juneau, Alaska. There is interest among lawmakers and Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy in settling a dispute over the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend program, but no consensus on what the program should look like going forward.
Alaskans get annual boost of free money from PFD

Checks of $1,114 are expected to be paid to about 643,000 Alaskans, beginning this week.

Most Read