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Hazardous Chemical Labels
Don't let your employees get caught with their goggles off – all it can take is a drop of some substances to blind or maim.

Keep your workplace safe from chemical hazards

Nearly every workplace that uses chemicals is full of signs, warnings, and cautionary labeling. Needless to say, safety is a top priority in any workplace, but it is especially crucial when there are hazardous chemicals at play. Taking the proper precautions and having emergency response materials in place can make your workplace even safer. This usually involves obtaining a good amount of cleanup material, MSDSs, and personal protective equipment.

Before you begin to work with any chemicals, it is important to know what you’re up against. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) provide a thorough summary of whatever chemical you’re using and are legally required in any context in which hazardous chemicals are used. Every chemical has a MSDS, and in addition to providing explanations of the hazards associated with the chemical, it also contains a list of ingredients and notes which of them are hazardous.

Chemicals should also be stored in a common sense way. For instance, keep all oxides away from flammables, never store a water-reactive chemical near a sink or other water source, and make sure that poisons are stored in a secure way and are never left on desks and surfaces.

You should also be sure to have the necessary materials for the cleanup of serious spills. Depending on the level of hazard that your spilled chemical creates, it could require anything from swirling a mop in a bucket, to donning some rubber gloves to use absorbent pads, to calling in a hazmat team.

While you’re around chemicals or using them, be sure that you have the proper personal protective equipment (PPE). Generally, the chemicals’ MSDSs will let you know what kind of hazards are possible, which could tune you into the type of gear that you should be wearing; for instance, if a chemical is a known skin irritant, rubber gloves and a lab coat should probably be worn, though both are usually worn if any hazardous material is present. Safety goggles are also usually a given.

In case bad turns to worse, always be prepared. Make sure that you have a fire extinguisher available in case of an accidental workplace incineration. Also be sure to have an emergency response plan in case of fire or a hazmat team-worthy incident. It’s always better to be on the safe side.

No matter what industry you’re in, if you’re working with chemicals, it is of vital importance to keep your workplace safe. Doing so isn’t particularly difficult if you’ve got the right equipment at hand and know what to do if your situation gets a little ugly. Always be prepared.

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