Workers Receive Chemical Burns While Cleaning
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated an incident, and found that PSL Worldwide Projects Ltd had not completed a suitable risk assessment for the job, and the equipment provided – including the hose – was not suitable for the task. It was also established that the company had failed to provide its workers with the correct personal protective equipment (PPE).
5 Tips to Ensure the Safety of Workers when Using Hazardous Chemicals
- Undertake a thorough risk assessment before using any chemicals to identify potential hazards such as chemical reactions when mixing substances, or the likelihood of spillages or explosions.
- Always consult the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for all substances to find out how the manufacturer or supplier states the substance should be used, stored and moved around safely. Check that you have the most up-to-date MSDS by contacting the manufacturer/supplier, or by looking on their website.
- Train workers in the hazards associated with the chemicals used. Make sure they know what other chemicals another substance could react with – sometimes this might even include water or oxygen in the air.
- Provide suitable controls to protect workers, such as enclosing substances to avoid human contact with chemicals, or by extracting them at source to prevent workers breathing in harmful gases. Make sure that any equipment (such as storage containers or hoses) is made of a suitable material that will not erode or rust.
- Give workers suitable PPE. This should always be the last resort in the hierarchy of controls as it only protects the individual wearer, but it can be an effective control. Make sure PPE fits the wearer (check again if anyone grows or removes a beard) and that they know how to adjust it, clean it and store it properly.
Chemical burns can kill, and can have a lasting effect on those who suffer them. Ensure that your workers are fully trained and protected today.
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