CORECHEM receives Governor’s Award of Excellence for workplace safety

CORECHEM is excited to announce that we have received the Governor’s Award of Excellence for workplace safety and health!

This award demonstrates that the entire team at CORECHEM is committed to our ‘Safety’ value. To receive the Governor’s Award of Excellence, 50,000 man-hours must be worked without a Lost Workday or Restricted Duty Incident. Additionally, the State of Tennessee awards the Governor’s Award of Excellence to just an average of approximately 16 companies per year. The team at CORECHEM is honored to receive this special recognition of our longstanding commitment to safety.

Pictured: Wesley Sherrod, General Manager with David Blessman, TOSHA Voluntary Protection Program Manager.

Safety Spotlight: Getting Rid of Empty Chemical Containers

Empty Chemical Drums

Returning Drums and Totes from CORECHEM

Drums and totes that have been delivered to your facility by a CORECHEM truck are returnable. In order to return a container, it must be empty with a maximum of 1” of residue in the bottom. If they are stored outdoors, drums should be stored on their side to prevent from filling with rainwater. Any liquid in the container at time of pickup is assumed to be as stated on the label. If more than one inch of residue is in the container, our drivers are not allowed to pick the container up: see Empty Container Policy. Empties may be returned with your next chemical delivery, or when our truck is in the area.

We are unable to reuse drums and totes that have been picked up from our facility and/or are transported on your truck; however, if proper disposal of these containers presents a problem to you, these may be returned to CORECHEM.

Returning Drums and Totes from Other Suppliers

CORECHEM can take back drums and totes from other suppliers if certain conditions are met. In order to determine if we are able to take back the drum or tote you received from another supplier, we will need to first review a Safety Data Sheet of the material the drum or tote was used for. Drums and totes must be empty and contain less than 1” of residue in the bottom.

Disposing of Drums and Totes

To dispose of drums or totes, look up your local disposal site. Also, refer to Section 13 of the Safety Data Sheet for disposal considerations.

Disposing of Smaller Containers

To dispose of 5 gallon carboys, 1 gallon bottles, and other smaller containers, refer to Section 13 of the Safety Data Sheet. Depending on what the container was used for, some smaller containers may be able to be simply thrown away, while others may need to be disposed of in a safe manner.

With any further questions on disposal of empty chemical containers, call the EPA hotline (800.424.8802) or contact us for guidance.

Safety Spotlight: Choosing a Face Mask

December 31, 2020

Bandana? Disposable Surgical? Reusable Cloth? Neck Gaiter?

different types of face masks

The face mask is an important piece of PPE (personal protective equipment) that we all have to wear right now. But with so many different types, how do you know you’ve got a good one? Here are some pointers to help you determine how effective your mask is… and help you choose a better one if you need to!

Weave, fit, layers… all of these matter. Masks must be made with a tighter weave (higher thread count) cloth to be effective. To work well, the mask needs to fit your face snugly. And masks with more layers can make for greater protection.

  1. The Disposable Surgical Mask. This mask consistently ranks well. Made of non-woven fabric, a magnifying glass reveals a solid wall of protection. With no holes to allow droplets to pass through, and a bendable metal nosepiece for a snugger fit, the disposable surgical mask is often ranked #1. This is a mask that can be made better, however; one study found that by sealing the mask to your face with a nylon band, 90% of small particles were blocked versus 50 – 75% without. Clearly, anything that makes for a better seal around your face will help.
  2. The Reusable Cloth Mask. There are many types of washable masks, made from cotton, polyester, other materials or blends. These reusable masks can be non-effective or very effective, so choose your reusable mask carefully. What to look for? A tight weave, more layers, and a snug fit. To get an idea of how tightly the cloth is woven, you can hold the mask up to a light. If light can get through the material, droplets can too.
  3. The Neck Gaiter. Tests have found that the neck gaiter is typically not very effective. Thinner materials and/or a single layer make a poor barrier. To test the quality of your neck gaiter, try blowing out a candle with it on. If the candle blows out, your neck gaiter fails the quality test!
  4. The Bandanna. The classic cotton bandana also is a poor performer. You may feel protected, but the cotton is too thin, and tests show it’s not doing much- if anything.
  5. The Vented Mask. Also not recommended. The vents have been found to do a poor job of filtering and essentially render the mask useless.

After you have found a good mask that you are comfortable in, the most important thing is- don’t forget to wear it!

Safety Spotlight: Work From Home Ergonomics

September 29, 2020

As many employees continue to work from their home, part or full time, we spotlight the all-important topic of ergonomics.

As our home offices were hastily set up last spring, a thing like ergonomics may not have been our highest priority. There was a lot of uncertainty about the future (i.e. how long our work from home offices would be needed). Now, however, as many employees have found a new normal that includes the use of a home office, it’s time to make sure we’re not hurting ourselves.

So, where do we start?

  1. First, grab your chair. Sit down. Your feet should be supported, resting on the floor, with your knees at a nice 90 degree angle. Now, notice what kind of back support your chair has, if any. If you’re using an office chair with built in support, make sure the part of the chair meant to support your back is in the correct position, at the small of your back. If no back support is offered, a simple solution may be to place a rolled up towel at the small of your back.
  2. Second, position your keyboard. Scoot your chair up to your table or desk. When you place your hands on your keyboard, they should be resting comfortably with your elbows at 90 degree angles. Your wrists should not be pressed against the hard corners of your desk, or your arms reaching upward. If the keyboard is too high, you may need to raise the height of your chair (if using an adjustable office chair) and use a footstool to support your feet. Or, it may be necessary to find a different table or desk that is the correct height.
  3. Finally, adjust your screen. Make sure your screen is not positioned too low. Ideally, your eyes should line up approximately with the upper third of your screen. Laptop users may find it necessary to purchase a separate keyboard/mouse or screen to get both the keyboard and the screen at the correct height. A simple stack of books or a container can serve as a stand for your laptop or separate screen to raise it up to the optimum height.

Safety Spotlight: CORECHEM & COVID-19 Compliance

June 15, 2020

Work from Home. Virtual Meetings. Disinfecting Procedures. Sick Policy. Social Distancing.

Love it or hate it, COVID-related terminology is now everyday, all-the-time lingo in 2020! As companies seek to reopen, or bring employees back into the office that have been working off site, workplaces everywhere are being re-thought. How will employees be safe in our workplaces?

Here are the steps CORECHEM has taken so far in our efforts to keep employees safe, and stay COVID-19 compliant.

Disinfecting Procedures: Procedures for disinfecting our offices were put into place in early March. These procedures will continue to be followed diligently as more employees return to work.

Sick Policy: A new sick policy was also put into place in early March, requiring sick employees to stay home from work.

Working from Home: Been there, done that. The majority of the office staff at CCI have been working from home since the middle of March.

Virtual Meetings: You bet! While working from home, we have had plenty of hands on experience using our various virtual meetings platforms: Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc.

Social Distancing: Aaaaaand…. this is where it gets kind of exciting! Since our sales office did not allow for ample space between employees while at their desk, renovations have been taking place while the office is empty! Employees in the newly renovated downstairs sales office look forward to being much more socially distant from their coworkers when they return to work.

Hopefully, these and all measures currently being taken around the world will be effective at shortening the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the meantime, here’s to staying safe this summer!


July 7, 2020 Update:

Safety Spotlight: Preventing Chemical Contamination

April 7, 2020

Chemical contamination, like virus contamination, usually happens unconsciously.

Tiny amounts of material get on our hands or gloves, and spread to everything we touch- door knobs, our face, our lunch. Preventing the spread of chemical contaminates takes an arson of weaponry, and starts by reading the SDS and labels that will tell how to protect yourself. Persons that regularly work with toxins, corrosives, and other hazardous chemicals need to be intimately familiar with the subject of chemical contamination.

Chemical contaminates enter your body in four major ways:

  1. Inhalation – breathe in airborne particles or fumes
  2. Eye Contact – comes in contact with your eyes, often via your hands
  3. Skin Contact – may happen through absorption or injection
  4. Ingestion – eat it, i.e. after unconsciously contaminating your food.

In order to prevent chemical contaminates from entering our bodies, there are three main measures that we can take:

  1. Personal Protective Equipment – Anticipate the hazards you are working with when considering what PPE to wear, and use all the PPE needed to protect yourself adequately. PPE should be carefully inspected for tears, and should be a good fit. Remember that liquid can make rubber gloves permeable, so they should be changed every couple of hours; see this helpful guide, How To Remove Gloves.
  2. Engineering Controls – Equipment such as splash guards and ventilation hoods in a laboratory or workstation can protect employees from contamination hazards.
  3. Safe Work Practices – Mindfulness and good housekeeping practices go a long way toward preventing chemical contamination:
    • Before starting a procedure, have a plan for clean up or disposal. Be careful about what you pour down the drain.
    • Where possible, use smaller containers, and store chemicals when they’re not being used.
    • Avoid nervous habits like touching your face.
    • PPE and supplies such as office supplies that are used around chemicals should be considered contaminated and left in the work area.
    • Uncontaminated objects, such as food or drink, should never be brought into the work area.
    • Never mix contaminates with uncontaminated objects or areas.
    • Surfaces and equipment, as well as your hands, should be washed up when you’re done using chemicals.
    • Clean up any spills immediately.


Safety Spotlight: Using a Safety Data Sheet

December 27, 2019

For our end-of-year Safety Spotlight, we’re taking a look at the all-important Safety Data Sheet!

A Safety Data Sheet, or SDS, contains all of the need-to-know information about a chemical in sixteen sections, conveniently arranged in need-to-know order. All of the information you may need in the event of an emergency is covered in the first six sections. The information that will help you to prevent an emergency from occurring in the first place, starts at Section 7.

This format was developed by the United Nations, and is called the Globally Harmonized System, or GHS. Although compliance with GHS is voluntary, it has been adopted by OSHA in the United States, as well as most industrialized countries.

Here are the four questions an SDS addresses, along with the corresponding sections:

  1. What is the chemical and what are its hazards?
    • Section 1- Product & Company Information
    • Section 2- Hazards Identification
    • Section 3- Composition / Information on Ingredients
  2. What should I do if a problem occurs while working with this chemical?
    • Section 4- First-Aid Measures
    • Section 5- Fire-Fighting Measures
    • Section 6- Accidental Release Measures
  3. What precautions should I take to prevent problems while working with this chemical?
    • Section 7- Handling and Storage
    • Section 8- Exposure Controls
    • Section 9- Physical & Chemical Properties
    • Section 10- Stability & Reactivity
  4. Is there anything else I should know about this chemical?
    • Section 11- Toxicological information
    • Section 12- Ecological Information
    • Section 13- Disposal Considerations
    • Section 14- Transportation Information
    • Section 15- Regulatory Information
    • Section 16- Other Information

Team CORECHEM is committed to helping your company stay safe in the New Year. If you’re missing Safety Data Sheets for the chemicals being used in your facility, you can find them on our product pages, or feel free to contact us by phone or email.

Safety Spotlight: Chemical Release Preparedness

September 25, 2019

Aaa, September! In addition to thinking about all things fall, it’s National Preparedness Month. We wanted to be prepared, and help you be prepared, for chemical spills & releases in the workplace.

How do you prepare for a chemical release in the workplace? First and foremost, employees should be familiar with all of the chemicals they work with, as well as their hazards and potential hazards. This information is on the label and the SDS.

If a spill should occur, here are are the questions you should ask yourself:

A) Is it hazardous, or will there be a hazardous reaction because of the release?

If the chemical is an immediate risk, leave the area immediately. You will want to note details such as type of chemical, quantity, and location, and report as quickly as possible. Follow the procedure in your company’s emergency plan for this type of emergency. This may involve measures such as sounding an alarm, evacuating, closing doors, blocking entrances, or wearing an emergency respirator. If the material is flammable, ignition sources in the area should be shut down. The spill will need to be cleaned up by professionals.

B) How big is it? Is it controlled? If not, can it be safely controlled?

If the release is uncontrolled, and you can do so in a safe manner, the first thing you will want to do is stop the release. If it cannot be contained or controlled in a safe manner, it will need to be cleaned up by professionals. Mark the area with a sign, or barricade it to keep workers away until it has been cleaned up.

C) Do you have the equipment, material, and training to clean up the release?

The appropriate material to clean up the release may consist of disposal containers, PPE, a sufficient quantity of the appropriate absorbent material, water, and/or a neutralizing or deactivating chemical, depending on the unique properties of the chemical released. These materials, and/or spill kits, should be stored close to where an accident may occur. Mock spill cleanups can be held (with water) to familiarize employees with the company’s release response procedure.

Safety Spotlight: Heat Stress + PPE

June 25, 2019

The start of the hot weather months has arrived! At CORECHEM, we are diving into Heat Stress training. If you or your employees work in the heat, especially while wearing bulky PPE, Heat Stress training is imperative.

Personal Protective Equipment for Chemical Handling

What is Heat Stress? 

It’s a 95 degree day. Sun is beating down on your back, and you’re pouring up chemicals with sweat dripping off your face. To top it off… you’re wearing a heavy rubber chemical suit.

You may not be entirely comfortable at this point, but when does the discomfort become a medical emergency? Well, here’s what we learned:

When you work in the heat, your body begins to sweat in an effort to cool the body. Sweat evaporation cools the body, but also depletes the body of necessary water and minerals.

Heat Stress: If you aren’t replenishing your body with the necessary fluid and minerals, or if the natural cooling process isn’t working (i.e. sweat cannot evaporate due to bulky PPE), Heat Stress can occur.

So, how do we prevent Heat Stress?

  • Firstly, if you aren’t acclimatized to working in hot conditions, get your body used to it a little at a time.
  • Remember that in high heat your natural thirst won’t be enough. You will have to make a conscious effort to replace the fluid & minerals you are losing.
  • Take breaks and eat light, cool meals.
  • Use a ‘buddy system’ to watch out for each other.
  • If you ignore the warning signs, you may get:

Heat Exhaustion: If your body is not able to re-establish normal fluid and mineral levels after several days of Heat Stress, your body begins to malfunction. This is Heat Exhaustion. Symptoms include: Nausea, Headache, Muscle Aches, Fatigue, Loss of Muscle Coordination, Hyperventilation, Dizziness, Excessive Thirst, Changed Heartbeat, Anger, Anxiety, or Impaired Judgement (affected worker may insist they are ‘fine’).

Heat Stroke: If you continue to ignore the warning signs of heat related illness, you may have a Heat Stroke. This is a serious and life threatening condition when the body can no longer cool itself at all. Symptoms include: Confusion, Fainting, Collapsing, Seizure, Dilated Pupils, Dry Skin, or Extremely High Body Temperature.

Stay safe this summer! Don’t get Heat Stress!