6 Tips for Chemical Safety in the Workplace

When your co-workers deal with chemicals on a regular basis, keeping them safe needs to be a top priority. Cutting corners on chemical safety can have disastrous consequences. Your workplace needs to be safe for any co-worker, from the ones who work with chemicals daily to those who occasionally walk by the chemical containers. Here are a few tips for keeping all your co-workers safe from chemical hazards.

Use Proper Ventilation 

Safety precautions need to be followed to prevent co-worker illness and injury, whether they’re working with harsh cleaning chemicals or laboratory chemicals. Proper ventilation is a necessity, as it allows the chemicals to dissipate into the air, rather than being concentrated around your co-workers. On a laboratory or factory floor, carbon monoxide needs to be allowed to dissipate so the levels don’t get too high. In a chemical laboratory or manufacturing facility, noxious gasses need to be pumped out of the building entirely. 

Establish Standard Operating Procedures

Standard operating procedures (SOPs) need to address all stages of handling chemicals, including delivery of raw materials, storage, processing, packaging, transport and disposal. These need to be set according to regulatory requirements to ensure co-worker safety and compliance. Everyone on your staff needs to be aware of these procedures, especially if they work closely with chemicals on a regular basis. 

Train Your Staff on Safety Protocols

Everyone who works directly with chemicals needs to be up-to-date on SOPs. Training should be done frequently to ensure that co-workers understand what they need to do on a daily basis to stay safe and what to do in the event of an emergency. Even those who work indirectly with chemicals should have some level of awareness of chemical handling. That way, they can be prepared in the event of an accident and use the knowledge to diffuse the situation. 

Install and Maintain Detectors and Alarms

Just like smoke detectors, chemical detectors can save lives. Carbon monoxide, for example, is an odorless, colorless gas that is highly toxic at certain levels. Depending on what your business does, other types of gas sensors and detectors might be necessary. Make sure these devices are properly installed and, where needed, hooked up to alarms so that co-workers can evacuate if needed.  

Have Facility Systems Maintained

Keeping up with a maintenance schedule on systems like the air conditioning, healing and plumbing is an important step in practicing chemical safety. Check the systems regularly to make sure they’re in working order, and have them professionally serviced at least once a year, ideally twice a year if your systems are older or carry on more heavy duty tasks.

Use Personal Protective Equipment

Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is a must when working with chemicals or in an area where chemicals may be present. In laboratory settings, everyone should wear goggles, lab gowns or aprons, and rubber gloves. In a factory that handles toxic or corrosive chemicals, hazmat suits may be necessary. Make sure your co-workers are wearing appropriate PPE in the presence of chemicals to avoid unsafe levels of chemical exposure.

Chemical safety involves many moving parts, from processes and equipment to co-worker participation. If you’re missing essential items for workplace chemical safety, we can help. Give Pollock Orora a call at 972-263-2126 or reach out online.