10 Rules for Safe Handling of Hazardous Materials

Making sure you employees know how to handle hazardous materials can prevent an accident. Here are 10 basic rules to help those who handle hazardous materials.This list in no means is anything more than a tool box talk but can be added to any safety plan

Rule #1. Be cautious and plan ahead. Think about what could go wrong and pay close attention to what you’re doing while you work.

Rule #2. Make sure all containers are properly labeled and that the material is contained in an appropriate container. Don’t use any material not contained or labeled properly. Report any damaged containers or illegible labels to your supervisor right away.

Rule #3. Follow all established procedures and perform job duties as you’ve been trained.

Rule #4. Keep you and your work area clean. After handling any material, wash thoroughly with soap and water. Clean work surfaces at least once a shift so that contamination risks are minimized.

Rule #5. Use all materials solely for their intended purpose. Don’t, for example, use solvents to clean your hands, or gasoline to wipe down equipment.

Rule #6. Learn about emergency procedures and equipment. Understanding emergency procedures means knowing evacuation procedures, emergency reporting procedures, and procedures for dealing with fires and spills. It also means knowing what to do in a medical emergency if a co-worker is injured or overcome by chemicals.

Rule #7. Always use required PPE—and inspect it carefully before each use to make sure it’s safe to use. Replace worn out or damage PPE; it won’t provide adequate protection.

Rule #8. Store all materials properly, separate incompatibles, and store in ventilated, dry, cool areas.

Rule #9. Read labels and the material safety data sheet (MSDS) before using any material to make sure you understand hazards and precautions.

Rule #10. Read the labels and refer to MSDSs to identify properties and hazards of chemical products and materials.

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