Employee exposure risk to chemicals and safe handling of chemicals should be the highest priority for any chemical firm. Improper handling of hazardous chemicals can lead to severe adverse effects to people (illness, burns, etc), the environment (ground, air or water contamination), and the chemical company experiencing any spills or exposure (goodwill/trust and financial damages).
There are few ground rules which the companies should adhere to, to avoid any such kind of mishaps.
The chemical company should have monthly meetings for all employees to train on the important safety items of:
-Translating product labeling
-Reading of SDS sheets
-Understanding chemical classifications and proper handling/storage and PPE procedures
-Establishing protocols for emergency procedures in case of spills or exposure
-Establishing protocols so that only authorized employees can access chemicals
Continuous safety training will re-affirm the importance of safe operating procedures to all individuals in the firm, to reduce the risk of adverse exposure.
The chemicals should always be preserved in their original containers with proper labeling which is completely visible to all individuals. In any case, if the product needs to be stored in smaller quantities, or the product needs to be transferred into new packaging, the chemical packaging company should consider that each chemical has its molecular property and might react abruptly if there is any kind of reaction with the packaging material.
Additionally, labeling each container properly helps the workers to maintain proper safety to identify the classification of chemical and corresponding PPE and handling procedure to reduce exposure risk while re-packaging the product.
Leave chemical handling to the pros
Considering the volatile nature of many chemicals and raw materials, usage of the same should be assigned to the designated workers who are formally trained on the same. Following the below steps assures proper handling of the chemicals.
- Use of personal protection equipment (PPE) is a must wherever required.
- Extra chemicals and biohazardous wastes must be handled very cautiously.
- Only trained staff must be processing any kind chemical blending procedure, in case of flammable products, acids, or hazardous oxidizers.
- The working area must be cleaned every day to make sure there are no chemical remains on the floor which can react with other substances.
- For Cleaning chemical manufacturers, proper reading and keeping of all safety data sheets are of extreme importance.
- Having environmental hazard companies on file in the case of spills to safely clean and dispose of the spilled chemicals safely.
The Industrial chemical facilities often produce many hazardous products, reactions with potential toxic chemical fumes, and vapors. To reduce the effect of these toxic airborne particles proper industrial ventilation should be installed. It helps throw out the bad air and pull in the fresh air. Industrial ventilation is required to maintain the health safety of the staff working in the facility. It controls the air that the employees breathe in, also maintains fire safety.
There are two types of ventilation procedures that the industrial facilities practice:
Local Exhaust: These are generally used when the air contamination level in the facility is comparatively high. It works by removing the contaminated air and then pushing the air through filters finally throwing it out of the facility. This has an investment cost attached to it, however, it can handle a huge amount of toxic fumes.
Dilution: This is used in the facilities where the air toxin level is low. Big fans are set up on the walls and they blow in a huge amount of fresh air from outside diluting the contaminated air particles which reduce the harmful effects.
Enforce hygiene standards
Hygiene has been a very important factor in the chemical industry; let us look at some very important points to be kept in mind.
- Smoking is completely restricted inside the facility; the staff should smoke outside or only in company designated smoking zones. Post smoking, the staff should wash hands before coming in contact with any chemical element. This is followed to avoid any chemical contamination through the skin.
- The hands are washed immediately after every procedure as per the safety data sheet.
- Work clothes must be kept clean if you have been in contact with any chemical. In Powder chemical blending facilities, special instructions are mentioned in instruction sheets to maintain extra care.
Be smart with storage
The chemical industry faces many hazardous situations with regards to storage and transport of chemical elements. They pose a potential threat to the environment and people in case of any kind of safety breach. In liquid chemical blending facilities, the storage and conditioning of the chemicals are of the highest importance. Tanks should have automated overfill prevention system, to avoid filling it too dangerous levels. SDS sheets should be read for all items in the warehouse to ensure all chemicals are properly stored in the correct holding container, and in the correct temperature range which is stated on the SDS.
Chemicals and raw materials can be volatile, but with proper safety procedures and constant reinforcement of safe practices, chemical companies can successfully handle these items to successfully blend formulations for each industry they service.