Liquid chemicals have different applications across various industries. They can be used for educational purposes, manufacturing, and research. But despite their many uses, some liquid chemicals require safe and careful handling. Without doing so, there’s a chance that chemical-related accidents might cause long-lasting effects on the victim’s well-being—even leading to their death.
Anyone handling chemicals must know how to do it properly. After all, even if their lab equipment came from KNF and other reputable manufacturers, their safety still relies on their precautionary measures. Here are some tips to safely handle chemicals in any situation:
Wear Appropriate Clothes
What you’re wearing will serve as your first line of defence when handling chemicals. Most situations will require the proper lab equipment and apparatus, but even with these, mishandling is still possible. When that happens, your lab equipment can only do so much to keep the chemicals at bay.
While warm weather calls for breathable clothes and low temperature demands multiple layers, protection is the main priority for handling chemicals. When selecting protective clothing, no amount of skin must be showing. Put on a pair of undamaged butyl rubber gloves to protect your hands. Ensure that a pair of goggles shield your eyes. You can use additional eyewear protection, such as a face shield when working with materials that can combust or explode.
With what you’re supposed to wear laid out, you must learn which clothing types and accessories you should avoid before handling chemicals. Wearing jewellery and clothes with loose sleeves is a possible hazard. After all, you don’t want anything to get caught by the equipment. The same goes for your hair; avoid letting it cover your face with clips and headbands. Otherwise, you’re likely to risk your safety at the workplace.
It’s almost impossible to identify chemicals based on scent and appearance alone. That’s where labels come in. Ensure that all the chemicals are labelled correctly to have an easier time determining if you picked the right chemicals for the specific task.
Chemical storage could influence their quality and stability. Some chemicals are sensitive to light, whereas others require temperature-controlled storage. Storage is one critical factor you must consider, mainly because this can affect a chemical’s potency.
For example, oxidizing and flammable chemicals are extremely sensitive to fire and heat. Hence, you must keep them in cool, dry areas and avoid placing them close to ignition sources or flammable materials. On the other hand, you must prevent bases and acids from spilling, given their ability to ruin the area. Storing them in large, protective bottles that are completely out of the way is the right choice.
Secure Quality Ventilation
Some chemicals emit toxic fumes that could affect anyone within the vicinity and may harm their health. On top of air quality, there’s a likely chance that these fumes might trigger a fire. And the more widespread the fumes are, the bigger the flames could get until they ruin the entire workplace.
Depending on what kind of chemicals you’re handling, ensure that the area has the appropriate ventilation systems. Some chemicals won’t require special ventilation; in these cases, a well-placed exhaust fan may be sufficient. However, those that deal with extremely delicate chemicals must have back-to-back ventilation. Consider having a system of ducts and hoods to allow the fumes to exit smoothly.
Know The Exits
Even though you have layers of protection to prevent chemical-related accidents, there’s still an off-chance that something might go wrong. Before that happens, ensure you’ve reviewed the structure of your workplace. Remember where the emergency exits are to file out calmly instead of panicking when something happens.
Keep Your Workstation Clean
Not only is it distracting, but having too much clutter all over your workstation is one step closer to an accident occurring. Accidentally knocking over bottles and apparatuses could cause a domino effect and cause an unexpected chemical reaction. You may also slip and fall if some materials end up on the floor. Thus, a clean workstation allows you to keep track of everything you’re using while preventing accidents.
Oversight is a common mistake everywhere. But despite how common it is, that doesn’t stop it from being extremely risky. Neglecting to read the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) provided by every label for each chemical may lead you to miss out on critical information for handling it.
On top of that, they provide reminders about proper safety gear and practices you must apply, such as rinsing glassware three times. Take your time to read them carefully to have a safer experience handling chemicals.
Handling chemicals is a delicate procedure, whether you’re doing it for educational purposes or industrial. Some chemicals are hazardous and pose risks to the human body if handled improperly. Thus, it’s crucial to know how to handle liquid chemicals properly to ensure safety for the handler and everyone in the workplace.