Ensure safety with hazardous materials

September 1, 2011

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.