9 Critical Tips For Chemical Safety In The Workplace

October 19, 2021
9 Critical Tips For Chemical Safety In The Workplace

The hazards and risks associated with chemical use in the workplace can be effectively managed by following a few important guidelines.

This article will outline the 9 most important steps to take when working with hazardous chemicals.

1. Chemicals must be organized into hazard classes

This is done by referring to chemical safety data sheets (MSDS).

Each class has specific guidelines that must be followed in order to minimize the risks associated with them. The most common classes of hazardous chemicals and the guidelines for each are:

– Flammable or combustible liquid: Keep away from open flames and any type of heat source. Room ventilation should be sufficient to prevent buildup of vapors, including at night while you are sleeping. Ensure proper electrical equipment is used.

– Oxidizing agent: Avoid skin contact with oxidizing agents. Keep containers tightly closed when not in use. Prevent build up of dust by wetting before sweeping or using a vacuum cleaner.

Irritant: Protect your eyes. Wear chemical goggles if there is potential for splashes near the eyes or face area. Use protective gloves made specifically for this class of chemicals when handling irrit to avoid skin contact with them.

– Corrosive: Contain any spills and clean up immediately. Use appropriate chemical absorbent materials such as sand or vermiculite to prevent spread of the contaminant.

Always wear eye protection as well as chemical resistant gloves when handling corrosives near the face and body areas.

2. Keep up with training and education

This is one of the easiest ways to stay informed about the hazards associated with hazardous chemicals, how to safely handle them, and what your responsibilities are as a worker using these products.

3. Minimize exposure times

This can be done by purchasing only what you need for a certain job, identifying which chemicals are safe to use without protective gear (when possible), and choosing cleaning processes that limit exposure time.

For example, if a powder or liquid is toxic you can dilute it in water and spray onto surfaces with an electric pressure washer instead of using a rag to clean them.

4. Use tools that limit exposure

Chemicals should never be mixed together without knowing what the resulting chemical will be.

This includes any combination of different chemicals as well as introducing water or another solvent into a chemical container. In some cases, the process may create a more hazardous compound than intended which could cause injury to anyone working around it.

5. Keep track of chemical storage locations

This ensures that items won’t be stored too closely together where vapors from one product may come into contact with another and become dangerous to work with.

6. Notify others of chemical contents

Never assume others know what chemicals you are working with. Label everything and post warning signs around the area where hazardous materials are being used.

5. Minimize inventory of hazardous chemicals

Hazardous chemicals are useful when used for work, but they should never take up more storage space than necessary.

If these products aren’t needed then find ways to reduce your use of them or eliminate them completely.

For example, you could switch to a non-toxic cleaning product that can be safely poured down the drain.

8. Keep processes separated

This prevents cross contamination between different chemical compounds and contaminants, for instance by using separate containers or disposable gloves if working with different substances or items after one another.9. Use personal protective equipment (PPE).

Donning PPE is an important step in any process involving hazardous chemicals as it ensures that you are protected from any hazards that the chemicals may produce.

Personal protective equipment includes safety glasses, gloves, face shields, and proper clothing for the job.

9. Keep an emergency preparedness kit on site

This kit provides all necessary items like eye droppers for medications as well as spill control materials such as absorbents if a toxic chemical is released during use.

This can reduce injuries caused by exposure to dangerous chemicals including skin burns , lung irritation , breathing difficulties, etc.

10. Follow recommended safe work practices

These include avoiding touching the eyes, nose, and mouth while working with chemicals. In addition to wearing personal protective equipment, all personnel should be trained in PPE usage and its consequences if it’s discontinued.

11. Dispose of chemicals properly

According to OSHA standards hazardous chemical containers should be disposed of by containment in secondary drums or tanks to prevent spills and releases into the environment which could contaminate air, soil, or water supplies.

12. Report accidents immediately

When any chemical accident occurs involving injury or environmental contamination, report it immediately so that proper measures can be taken to control the situation and keep everyone safe.

When dealing with hazardous chemicals there is always a chance of an accident happening due to human error which can result in severe injuries and damage to the environment.

However by following these helpful guidelines you can help reduce your chances of experiencing a mishap when in the workplace .

13. Utilize chemical safety data sheets (SDS)

A SDS is required for all chemicals in the workplace which provides detailed information about each chemical’s health effects, precautions, and safe handling procedures to be taken when working with it.

This ensures everyone follows proper protocol for using hazardous chemicals safely.

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