Canal HR March SAFETY TOPIC: Working With Chemicals Safely

Outlined below are some basic safety suggestions and rules that can prevent injury, accident or explosions if you follow them when working with chemicals.

Read labels of any chemical containers before opening.  OSHA requires that employers label hazardous chemicals with an easy identification system.  The National Fire Protections Agency has a system of colors and symbols which indicate flammability and reactivity of hazardous substances.  Report any unlabeled containers to your supervisor.

If needed, wear the appropriate personal protective equipment for the chemicals you work with.  Some examples are goggles, masks, face shields, respirators, gloves, aprons or protective body suits.

You should always come to work in clean clothes which are in good condition.  Tears in your clothes can allow a hazardous chemical to come in contact with your skin.

Make sure that there is adequate ventilation in your work area.

Always wash your hands before you touch your face, apply make-up or put on gloves.  If you smoke only do so after washing your hands thoroughly and going to a designated smoking area.  Before eating at work, always wash your hands thoroughly and do not eat in areas where hazardous materials are used or stored.

Remove your contact lenses if there are vapors of hazardous materials in your work area.  This will prevent your contacts from absorbing them and later irritating your eyes.

If you splash a hazardous substance on your skin, in your eyes or mouth, you should remove any contaminated clothing and immediately wash it out or off.  Consult the Material Safety Data Sheets for additional information on what to do next depending on the chemical you have come into contact with. You should know this information before you begin working with a hazardous substance.  Report any incidents to your supervisor immediately.

Keep your work areas clean.  If you spill some toxic substance then clean it up according to proper spill procedures as outlined in the Material Safety Data Sheets.

Nothing above supersedes local, state or federal laws. Information is believed to be reliable but Canal HR makes no guarantee as to, and assumes no responsibility for the correctness, sufficiency or completeness of the above information and recommendations. Additional safety measures may be required in some circumstances.