How to Use Cleaning Chemicals Safely: A Basic Guideline
People often forget the hazards of cleaning chemicals because they don’t use them in the same way as other hazardous chemicals. Chemicals used for cleaning can come with various potential dangers that threaten the health and safety of workers and workplaces. The risk is heightened for workers who use them daily, like cleaning machinery or equipment.
Ecospill exists to support Australian workplaces manage hazardous chemicals. In this article, we explain how to use cleaning chemicals safely and the materials to help achieve this safety.
HOW TO USE CLEANING CHEMICALS SAFELY
Cleaning chemicals are used in their own unique way, and employers can often forget their dangers. Because of this exclusion, it’s essential to explore the safe use of cleaning chemicals in a workplace. Read our four tips below on how to use cleaning chemicals safely:
1. Don’t mix cleaning chemicals unless indicated
Cleaning chemicals are potent substances that are intended for specific use. Mixing them can cause a reaction that may result in severe problems. For example, mixing bleach and ammonia can cause serious damage to the lungs if its fumes are inhaled and can even result in death to people nearby.
2. Dilute cleaning chemicals as instructed
Ensure that you read the instructions for cleaning chemicals before use. Some substances arrive in a concentrated form and must be diluted before use. If they’re not diluted, their strength can cause serious harm to people and the environment.
3. Open the vents when cleaning
Opening the vents when using cleaning chemicals can help ventilate the area so that fumes aren’t inhaled. Inhaling cleaning chemicals is dangerous and can cause a loss of consciousness. If workers begin to feel light-headed while cleaning, it’s time to take a break and improve the area’s ventilation. You can also open windows and use fans to enhance the ventilation.
4. Wash your hands after cleaning
Our final tip on how to use cleaning chemicals safely is to wash your hands immediately after cleaning. Regardless of the chemical used, washing your hands is an excellent practice to become familiar with when working with chemicals.
MATERIAL SAFETY DATA SHEETS
Material safety data sheets (MSDS) are a document that outlines the hazards of a chemical and how to use them safely. All chemicals come with an MSDS, including cleaning chemicals. When considering how to use cleaning chemicals safely, remember to make MSDS documentation readily available and accessible for staff. They can assess the chemical’s MSDS before use and refer to it if they have a concern. MSDS can also help employers choose safer cleaning chemicals to use in their workplace.
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
You should have appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for your staff to wear when using cleaning chemicals. PPE protects their body from coming in contact with chemicals and reduces the risk of hazards caused by chemicals. Review the proper PPE needed for your cleaning chemicals, such as goggles, gloves and long sleeve clothing. Ecospill stock spill kits, which include the appropriate PPE to protect people from most chemicals.
It’s vital to treat cleaning chemicals much like other hazardous chemicals in your workplace. Implementing proper procedures with the appropriate protection can minimise the risks associated with cleaning products. It can also be a good idea to refer to the MSDS to seek out non-hazardous cleaning chemicals for your workplace. If you would like to know more about protecting your staff and business from cleaning chemicals, contact Ecospill today.