Apr 19, 2012

Working with Dangerous Chemicals at Home

There is no doubt that working with chemicals can be a dangerous practice but preparation and understanding can help you to avoid any harm to humans. Chemicals are a useful part of a handyman’s arsenal and several will be found in most UTE tool boxes. They come in many forms and can be used as anything from vapours to lubricants so it is important to understand their dangers and how to manage them:

● Know your emergency procedure. If anything should go wrong then you need to be prepared. Learn how to clean up spills safely, where you can escape to, and also where the safety supplies are.
● Understand the chemical. Before using it, do research on what the chemical does and how it will behave. Be sure to learn the risks and how to deal with emergencies because you will not be able to read the label when it is too late.
● Wear appropriate clothing for the job at hand. Having the correct clothing is as important as having the correct
hand tools for a job and this is especially true with regards to chemical safety. Wear the appropriate goggles, face masks and overalls to keep yourself free from injury.
● Be prepared to clean any chemicals off safely. You should be prepared with access to a shower or neutralising agent where appropriate. Be prepared to properly clean yourself and to dispose of clothing where appropriate.
● Do not leave contaminants lying around. Any rags or clothes exposed to chemicals need to be disposed of rapidly to avoid accidental exposure.
● Never take food into a chemically active working area. Chemicals can easily get onto your food if they are in the same environment. Anything that you ingest should be kept well away from any potential exposure to chemicals.
● Wash thoroughly before eating after using chemicals. Even wearing the same clothes when eating your food poses a risk to your health so it is better to wash thoroughly and shower where necessary.
● Ensure there is proper ventilation in any area where chemicals are being used. Even if chemicals are not in vapour form they will likely release toxic chemicals into the air. Note that it is also possible for the area you are working on to release toxic gases when the chemical is used on its surface. Avoid inhaling these chemicals with the use of proper ventilation and a quality face mask.
● Use a buddy system to ensure that there is always a way to contact emergency services. If anything goes wrong it is vital that there is someone to seek assistance so never work with chemicals alone.
● Clean any spills immediately. It is important to keep every work area as clean as possible. Leaving a spill means that it may be spread around or may damage the surface. Avoid this by cleaning up quickly and safely.
● Ensure that chemical storage is adequate. Some chemicals will ignite if exposed to high temperatures and many may even explode. Be sure to store chemicals in the correct way so that you can avoid any catastrophic accidents.

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