Training workers in the safe use and handling of chemicals (whether considered hazardous or not) is essential to protecting staff and possibly customers from unnecessary exposure resulting in injury or even death. One key element is to standardize all work practices so that everyone is on the same page as to the proper steps in mixing, refilling, storing and transporting chemicals. Color coding and labels are essential. 

Workers will always use whatever chemicals are at hand and in some cases bring in their favorites from home. It is vital that strong supervision of all chemicals be in place for any products allowed on site. A common mistake is for a well-intended worker to mix bleach with pine scent or ammonia to make it “clean” better. The resulting fumes can be fatal to humans and may damage surfaces beyond repair.

Be sure workers that have been trained on what chemicals are used on differing surfaces. An extreme example is that bowl cleaner should never be used on wooden surface to avoid serious damage. Always read and follow the MSD information provided. Be sure that all chemical containers are properly labeled and stored safely. Chemical dilution should be as per label directions unless overridden by a supervisor. Remember that water oftentimes is the only liquid that can be used to dilute other products. Keep chemicals separated and safe which means that where and how items are placed on the shelf is very important.

Workers do not necessarily need to understand chemistry and pH. They do need to be restricted from access to seldom used chemicals. Please note the preceding is suggestive only since regulations will vary by government entity. It is highly recommended that reader consult with local SME (subject matter experts) on any safety related topic and use the preceding as a starting point.

Go to www.osha.gov for more information or use a search engine for local and state regulations. Your comments and questions are always welcome. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean…

 

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678.314.2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.