Working with hazardous chemicals is a dangerous job, and if you’re going to perform it well then you need to practice chemical safety.
There are many different things that you can do to ensure that there is safety in the workplace that is up to OSHA standards. Not only does following chemical safety tips help to keep your workers safe, but it saves money for everyone involved.
When chemicals aren’t handled properly it can lead to injury and death while also causing a great deal of harm to the environment. It is important to use things like a safety data sheet to ensure that everyone is staying safe.
Continue reading to learn more about the seven safety tips you need to know for working around chemicals.
Safety Tips for Chemical Handling
1. Train Employees About Chemical Safety
It is important for staying safe in the workplace that all employees are trained on chemical safety in the workplace before those employees start working. You also need to ensure that everyone is trained any time a new chemical gets introduced to your workplace.
There are several key areas that the training should focus on. All employees need to get trained on how to spot hazardous chemicals in the workplace. They also need to know about the personal protections that are in place in the workplace.
Another step in protocol that employees need to receive training on is who to contact in the event that there are issues with hazardous chemicals. Proper training on the use and importance of SDS and labeling chemicals is vital.
2. Everyone Follows Protocol
It is normal for employees to be less than enthusiastic when it comes to adhering to strict rules and regulations and complicated rules. It is vital to staying safe that they understand that these protocols are part of their job.
These protocols extend to reading the labels of different chemicals as well as for instructions on how to use them. It also involves knowing the composition of the different chemicals in your workplace.
3. Keep Things Clean and Tidy
Another important thing for chemical safety tips is to keep the workplace clean and tidy. This prevents the likelihood of spills or accidents involving hazardous chemicals.
Dirty and cluttered desks or a messy countertop in a laboratory can easily lead to spilling a hazardous chemical and putting yourself and others in danger. It is also important to make sure there are no tripping hazards like wires in walkways.
It isn’t hard to imagine someone carrying a hazardous chemical in a delicate container and tripping. The chemical will spread all over the floor of the workplace and create a safety hazard for everyone there.
4. Use Safety Data Sheets
Using safety data sheets is another great way to practice chemical safety in your workplace. Safety data sheets provide employees with information about what each chemical is made up of.
They also notify you about the safety hazards and environmental health hazards that come with that chemical. You’ll also get information on how to handle, store, and transport the chemical from the SDS.
If you need guidance on the personal protective equipment needed for handling a chemical, the SDS has you covered. You’ll also gain valuable information about first aid procedures and how to clean up and dispose of any chemicals that spill.
5. Wear Protective Equipment
One thing that you need to do before you get anywhere close to hazardous chemicals is to ensure that you’re wearing personal protective equipment needed for that chemical. This gear will protect you and preserve your health.
If you’ve worked with a particular chemical in the past then you should know exactly what protective equipment is required for handling it.
The biggest mistake that employees make is disregarding the safety equipment they need for their jobs. This could be because there isn’t enough to go around, or it could result from laziness.
Gear like safety goggles is absolutely essential when working with any type of chemical, hazardous or otherwise. This is especially true when working with chemicals that are flammable, like acids and bases.
Chemicals are volatile and you have no idea how they could react with different agents in your workplace. Wearing protective equipment is the best way to guarantee your health.
6. Label Chemicals
A common mistake in workplaces that handle chemicals is a delay in labeling them and their containers. This is something that is an easy fix. It doesn’t need to be an SDS or a highly specific label. Something as simple as a sticky note will suffice.
Ideally, specific and informative labels get applied to the containers housing hazardous chemicals. The best labels inform the people handling the containers of what they’re handling and whether it is hazardous or not.
Delaying the process of labeling chemicals puts everyone in the supply chain in danger. Don’t forget this important step when it comes to chemical safety.
7. React Swiftly
Whether the chemicals in your workplace are hazardous chemicals or not, there is always a risk that comes with them. Even if every protocol is followed to the letter and every precaution is followed, there is still a health risk.
This is when your training for chemical safety should kick in and allow you to react swiftly. If a chemical is spilled or escapes from its container, notify your coworkers so that they can make their way to the safety showers.
From there, your next priority is to clean the chemical spill. The best way to do this is to use emergency spill cleanup equipment. This will help you get the worst of the spill. After that, you’ll clean up whatever is left from the spill.
Taking these steps in a quick manner is the best way to keep your coworkers and yourself safe from hazardous chemicals.
Start Practicing Chemical Safety Today
Working with chemicals is a hazardous business, but there are plenty of ways for you to practice chemical safety. The best way is to make sure that everyone gets trained on chemical safety in the workplace. This will help them react swiftly in the case of a spill.
Always use safety data sheets and make sure everything is labeled. It is also wise to keep your workspace clean and tidy to prevent spills and accidents. You’ll also want to make sure to always wear protective equipment.
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