No matter how long you’ve been working in the chemical processing industry, it’s always a good idea to revisit safety guidelines. Of course, each plant differs in its materials, equipment and handling techniques, but there are some standard regulations that all chemical workers should be aware of. Here are a few tried-and-true safety tips to keep in mind:
Be conscious of air flow
When you’re handling sensitive materials, air flow is of the utmost importance. Occupational Health & Safety magazine explained that having a proper ventilation system in your lab or plant can go a long way toward maintaining air quality, which is one of the most crucial safety features in any chemical workplace. It can also be one of the most difficult features to measure, as some dangerous substances do nothing to alter the appearance, taste and smell of your environment.
The source recommended installing a local exhaust system that can handle between eight and 10 air changeouts every 60 minutes. You may also want to explore the possibility of acquiring exhaust hoods if your facility doesn’t already use them.
Even if you’re confident in your ability to discern between various substances, not labeling chemicals properly is a recipe for disaster. If you already have a labeling system that works well for you, make sure all your colleagues are following the same procedure. Pekin Insurance noted that every tag should contain at least the following information:
- Chemical name
- Important information about the substance, including any safety risks.
Depending on your facility’s rules and practices, as well as the purpose of the chemical, you may want to include even more information on every label. Once you ensure that all substances are properly labeled, make sure your storage room is well organized. OHS magazine noted it’s a good idea to keep one person with exceptional organizational skills in charge of this duty, as it can get complicated with too many workers. This person should also be vigilant about disposing of expired substances and keeping incompatible materials apart from each other.
Have thorough training procedures in place
One of the best ways to make sure your chemical processing workplace is safe is to have strict, rigorous training guidelines. New workers are always bound to make mistakes, but effective preparation programs can help minimize the magnitude of these errors. Of course, new hires are likely familiar with the basics of chemical handling, but you should still start with the most rudimentary information.