5 Ways to Increase Workplace Chemical Safety

Chemical safety in the workplace is a vitally important issue for all companies, and especially those that manufacture, process, or otherwise use hazardous chemicals. These substances must be managed effectively to help ensure the health and safety of workers, and there are numerous things companies can and should do to achieve this. Here we look at several ways to help increase chemical safety in the workplace.

Ways to Increase Chemical Safety at Work

  • Proper Chemical Storage
    • Proper storage of chemical substances is a prerequisite for workplace safety in any company. Because of their potentially harmful effects, both alone and when interacting with other substances, storing chemicals in a proper manner is critical. Some recommendations for safe storage include:
      • securing chemicals to prevent unauthorized and unnecessary use
      • including proper labelling and warning notifications
      • including appropriate ventilation in areas where chemicals are stored
      • securing portable chemical containers when not in use
  • Proper Personal Protective Equipment Usage
    • When dealing with any chemical, use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is recommended. PPE typically shares a common purpose – to prevent chemical contact with an individual’s skin, eyes, or other vulnerable area. Types of PPE used can vary based on several factors, including the types of protection the PPE offers. Examples include:
      • skin protection (gloves, rubber boots)
      • eye protection (goggles)
      • respiratory protection (face masks, hoods)
  • Spill Response Plan
    • Establishing and maintaining a response plan to address chemical spills is essential for companies that deal with hazardous chemicals in any capacity. Such plans should include provisions for prevention, containment, getting medical care, reporting, and more. Spill response drills should also be conducted.
  • Training
    • To make sure that any worker who may come in contact with or be impacted by a hazardous chemical thoroughly understands the risks associated with it, training is particularly important. To improve its effectiveness, chemical safety training should be conducted regularly and should incorporate a diverse range of information. While it often may be very specific, based on a company’s individual needs, most training includes information on fundamentals such as:
      • safety data sheet (SDS) use
      • personal protective equipment (PPE) use
      • container labelling guidelines
      • exposure avoidance recommendations
      • chemical waste material handling
  • Thorough Chemical Understanding
    • Perhaps the most significant aspect of workplace chemical safety is being aware of chemicals used and understanding the properties and risks associated with them. Maintaining current SDSs for each chemical and having a thorough knowledge of the information they provide is an integral part of this. To achieve an even deeper understanding of chemicals and the risks that they pose, having access to additional information resources can be very beneficial.
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