Outlining The Dangers Of Handling Chemicals
When cleaning chemicals are improperly mixed, the best case scenario is a strange smell. Worst case, according to an infographic from ManageMen, the error results in an injury or even death.
According to the EPA, as many as 2.8 million people in the cleaning industry are exposed to potentially dangerous chemicals each day.
It’s up to the employer to make sure their staff knows what they’re doing and have the training to know how to detect hazardous chemicals in the work area. OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS 2012) includes training on personal protective equipment, detection of hazardous equipment and safety data sheet information.
According to earlier CleanLink reports, key components of a cleaning chemical safety program include:
• A complete list of all cleaning chemicals used in the facility. This documentation should include details such as how many gallons (and multiple-gallon containers) are stored, where they are stored, and the potential hazards of and necessary precautions for each specific chemical (for instance, whether or not a chemical needs to be kept away from direct sunlight).
• Safety Data Sheets for each chemical used or stored.
• Keeping all cleaning chemicals in their original containers and never mixing chemicals, even if they are the same "type" of chemical.
• Storing chemicals in well-ventilated areas away from HVAC intake vents. This helps prevent any fumes from spreading to other areas of the facility.
• Installing safety signage in multiple languages (or, even better, using images) that quickly convey possible dangers and precautions related to the chemicals.
• Making sure all cleaning workers know exactly what the following "signal words" mean:
• Caution: the product should be used carefully but is relatively safe.
• Warning: the product is moderately toxic.
• Danger: the product is highly toxic and may cause permanent damage to skin and eyes.