Chemical safety is the practice of minimizing risk of exposure to chemicals in any environment and the application of the best practices for handling chemicals and chemistry processes to minimize risk, to a person, facility, or community. It entails the understanding of the physical, chemical, and toxicological hazards of chemicals.
Chemicals in the work environment are commonplace and necessary for making our jobs easier and more productive. Accidents happen despite efforts to design and maintain safety, and the presence of chemicals are also accompanied by many hazards.
Here are some simple guidelines to follow with chemicals:
Identify the chemicals you use.
· Flammable Chemicals
· Oxidizing Substances
· Corrosive chemical
Take an inventory of all chemicals used in your workplace by department. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) should be requested from the companies that supply the chemicals. These will be needed for reference in the event of an emergency and training of employees. The quantities on hand, where they are stored, and what they are stored in should be listed.
Identify the safe uses of the chemicals in your workplace. Safe handling instructions must be followed and personal protective equipment must be used while handling chemicals. Instructions regarding the mixing of chemicals should be followed. After handling chemicals, wash yourself thoroughly. Don’t eat, drink, or smoke when you’re handling chemicals.
Label all containers with the following information: Name of the chemical. Concentration (strength) of the chemical. Information about hazards associated with the chemical (For example, skin irritant) and emergency information.
An effective emergency plan for the workplace must prepared. The purpose of the emergency plan is to minimize, the effects of any dangerous occurrence or near miss at a workplace resulting from the handling and storage of hazardous chemicals. The aim of your emergency plan is to eliminate a hazard and associated risk first. If this is not practical, the risk must be minimized by using one or more of the following: