What you need to know about poison prevention

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Magen M. Reeves
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
Sometimes it can be easy to forget the little things by overlooking the everyday hazards and miss identifying the potential for an incident until it’s too late.

When some people think of the word poison, they think of dangerous chemicals or old-school snake venom. However, poison prevention focuses on identifying hazards in many environments and aspects including daycare and school facilities, at home, food eateries, pharmacies where over-the-counter medicines are sold, safe medicine disposal centers, tobacco sellers, and insect and reptile bites and stings.

The third week of March is identified as National Poison Prevention Week, and people are encouraged to be vigilant and educate themselves on all areas of potential poisonous accidents and incidents, which could result in a permanent disability or even a fatality by absorption or inhalation.

“Ingestion is also a concern,” said Staff Sgt. Justin Williams, 341st Medical Operations Squadron NCOIC of the special surveillance section of bioenvironmental flight.

Here at Malmstrom, there are several agencies that deal with monitoring and preventing hazards including wing safety, the pharmacy, bioenvironmental, public health, the fire department, and the environmental section of civil engineer.

“We try and emphasis the use of Safety Data Sheets [in work centers] to help workers identify the potential hazards of certain substances they may be working with,” said Tech. Sgt. James McLean, 341st Missile Wing Safety NCOIC of occupational safety. “It helps identify exposure routes, symptoms, and target organs. It also provides immediate first aid recommendations in the event some form of exposure occurs.”

When identifying dangerous situations, inspectors look for solid, semi-solid, liquid and gaseous substances that could cause an accident if the Airmen handling them are not following proper procedures or are not wearing mandated personal protective equipment.

“We try to educate and prevent future mishaps,” said McLean.

If an incident occurs, inspectors identify the 5Ws, otherwise known as the who, what, where, when and why to help determine better practices or solutions for the future and how to better protect the Airmen working with such chemicals or substances.

Vigilance in the home is also critical for parents, children, care-providers, and so forth. Multiple steps can be taken to deter the potential of a hazard being fatal to include installing child-safe locks on cabinet doors which contain chemicals and educating home dwellers on gaseous hazards and insect or reptiles residing in the local area.

Safety is a responsibility everyone must take very seriously. Reducing accidents and incidents involving poisonous chemicals, substances or animals is a good step in the right direction.