Working with chemicals and solvents in the workplace can expose workers to a host of health hazards. Being properly trained in how to handle these hazardous materials is vital.
Canada-based WorkSafe BC offers the following safety tips for mitigating hazards when working with hazardous materials:
- Read the label and the Material Safety Data Sheets for chemicals present in the workplace.
- Use non-toxic, non-flammable products whenever possible. Ask your employer to consider replacing flammable, toxic materials with safer alternatives if available.
- When handling hazardous materials:
- Use the chemical only as directed.
- Use personal protective equipment as recommended by manufacturers and required by your employer. These could include protective clothing, rubber gloves, goggles and faceshields.
- Be sure you are working in an adequately ventilated area with approved fire protection.
- Do not perform hot work where flammable chemicals are used or stored.
- Check that first aid is readily available.
- Store chemicals in a properly ventilated, locked area and post warning signs.