5 Safety Tips For Handling Industrial Cleaning Chemicals
Industrial and commercial cleaning chemicals are formulated to tackle tougher cleaning jobs than the cleaning products you typically find at the grocery store. For this reason, certain health risks and safety hazards are associated with handling these potent formulas. Some are powerful enough to burn skin, cause serious eye injury, and lead to breathing problems, just to name a few.
As a professional cleaning supplier in Edmonton and Calgary, here are our top five safety tips for properly handling industrial and commercial chemical cleaning products.
1. Make Safety Data Sheets (SDS) readily available
All professional cleaning chemicals come with a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) that specifies hazards, ingredients, first aid measures, fire measures, handling and storage, exposure control, physical and chemical properties, disposal information, and more. You can ask your cleaning supplier for the SDS of the specific chemical product.
We recommend keeping an organized binder of the SDS for each cleaning chemical and keeping it in the room where you store the chemicals. We also recommend placing the SDS on the wall where the product is stored for easy and quick reference. During a spill or an emergency, this will become handy when an employee needs to access the SDS for information.
For every new employee, be sure to include SDS in your training. Explain their importance and where the sheets are located.
2. Have the proper personal protection equipment (PPE)
Some chemicals require masks and specific gloves for safe handling. It’s important to follow the PPE specifications of each product to prevent chemical burns and minimize or eliminate the risk of exposure. Keep personal protection equipment well-stocked, as certain chemicals should not be used without the proper equipment.
3. Ensure proper ventilation
Proper ventilation is critical when handling commercial and industrial cleaning chemicals. Again, cleaning staff should be using masks if required. Turn on bathroom and kitchen fans when cleaning and, during deeper cleaning with specific chemicals, open windows and use portable fans to ventilate the air.
4. Label containers properly
Have specific containers for each chemical, and never mix products. Be sure the bulk product container matches the spray bottle or small container you’re refilling. Relabel containers if the original labels are gone and ensure hazards or warnings are visible. If the label is missing, do not use the chemical and call your cleaning supplier for proper disposal.
5. Create strict rules for storing chemicals
Guidelines for storing cleaning products should be included in new employee training, checked regularly for compliance, and included in refresher training during employee assessments.
These rules can include (and are not limited to):
- Never place cleaning chemicals near a heat source.
- Never mix cleaning chemicals or put them in different containers.
- Never use cleaning chemicals that are not labelled.
- Avoid storing flammable chemicals in hot rooms or rooms that are not ventilated.
- Only authorized staff can access the cleaning storage room.
- Have a spray bottle of a multipurpose product ready at the reception desk for general spills.
- If you’re unsure what cleaning product to use, always ask the cleaning staff or management for further instructions.
Having strict rules for storing commercial cleaning chemicals is for the safety of your employees. Improper handling of certain chemicals can lead to burns, poisoning, skin and eye irritation, breathing problems, allergic reactions, and other serious health problems from exposure. Only trained personnel should be handling commercial and industrial cleaning chemicals.
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