Every year, hundred, if not thousands of people are injured and even killed by cleaning chemicals that are common at work and at home. A common error is to play “Junior Chemist" and mix bleach with pine scent or bowl acid or ammonia thinking that the two cleaning products together will be more potent and effective in cleaning.

Unfortunately, ignorance of basic chemistry can be expensive in the very least. Mixing of the aforementioned products can create hazardous gases, heat and other reactions that have literally cracked porcelain toilets and rendered the worker unconscious. If the person survives, they can have burns to their skin, eye damage and even permanent respiratory damage while suffering other issues for the rest of their lives. A little training on safety while warning of mixing chemicals could not only have saved that person from injury but also saved the company when the Workers Compensation rates go up.

Of course, your response may be that you do not have those chemicals on site and I commend you for maintaining a vigilant watch over your chemical inventory. You should have a firm policy against workers bringing in cleaning products from home or mixing chemicals other than water. The Poison Control number is 800.222.1222 and should be posted appropriately. I know of one company that requires workers memorize it as part of their training. The key is to remember that many chemicals we use every day have the potential of being dangerous if used incorrectly. It is imperative that the company take ownership of safety.

The goal is always safety.

Your comments and questions are important. 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.