For first hand protection, here are some tips on how to handle hazardous chemicals.
Chemical exposure may cause or contribute to many serious health effects such as heart ailments, kidney and lung damage, sterility, cancer, burns, and rashes. Some chemicals may also be safety hazards and have the potential to cause fires and explosions and other serious accidents. For first hand protection, chemical containers should have the trade and name, manufacturer name and contacts. The container should also have the chemical hazards properly identified and indicated.
Material safety data sheet to be communicated and to include chemicals whether they include hazardous, non-hazardous and proprietary amount of chemicals to be controlled. One must purchase only what will be used within a reasonable time period (e.g., 6 months). Their should also be a routine inventory and disposal of unused chemicals used in home and establishments.
Segregation of chemicals storage. In order to prevent from any serious problems, chemicals should be kept away from populated areas. Hazardous chemicals should be isolated from incompatible substances. It should have separate storage areas, rooms or buildings (dependent upon the amount of chemicals involved).
One must also be able to identify each storage site according to category
1. Flammable solids or liquids
2. Combustible Liquids
4. Organic peroxide
6. Pyrophoric materials (may ignite spontaneously in air at temperatures of 130°F or below)
7. Unstable materials
8. Water-reactive materials
There are several types of chemical health hazards which includes:
1. Carcinogens - cancer causing agents such as formaldehyde or benzene
2. Toxic agents – lawn and garden insecticides, fungicides, and arsenic compounds
3. Reproductive toxins - thalidomide and nitrous oxide
4. Irritants – bleaches and ammonia
5. Corrosives – battery acid and caustic sodas
6. Sensitizers – creosote and epoxy resins
7. Organic-specific agents which act on specific organs or parts of the body – sulphuric acid which affects the skin and asbestos which affects the lungs.
Place chemicals with more than one hazard characteristic in area which represents its greatest hazard. Segregated within its storage area if possible. Storage areas with signage. Hazards signs at entrance to each storage sire depicting the worst case scenario Special precautions to be taken when accessing the area (e.g., no smoking in flammable storage area). Special storage areas are based on classification of material stored.
Adequacy of safety equipment - based on level of concern for worse case scenario and types of hazards.
1. Fire extinguishers and fire alarms
3. Eye wash fountains
4. Portable self-contained breathing apparatus
5. Personal protective clothing
Published in: Consumer Information