The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Handling hazardous chemicals is an unfortunate requirement for various businesses and industries. If your business stores or uses hazardous chemicals in any way, then the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires you to provide chemical handling training to employees.
OSHA breaks chemical handling training into five categories, including employee training. While there are many key points to make in chemical handling training, the following four are particularly important since they involve employee safety and emergency response.
How To Read Chemical Labels
Labels are small but important safety elements. All your employees should know how to read every detail of a chemical container’s label. Container labels should include the product name and details such as the manufacturer, associated hazards, and any relevant pictographs. You may think that anyone who can read can also understand these labels; you might also think you don’t have to explore labeling thoroughly during safety training. However, you must ensure every employee is on the same page. Train your employees in all labeling details.
How To Wear Personal Protective Equipment
You might think wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) is obvious, so why waste training time on clothing and accessories when you can focus on bigger hazards? Like reading labels, every employee must be on the same page regarding PPE. If one of your employees doesn’t understand how to wear their PPE, then they can injure themselves when working with chemicals. Train all your employees on wearing the appropriate PPE for their jobs.
Proper Response to Chemical Spills
One situation where employees need to wear PPE is responding to chemical spills. No one who works with hazardous chemicals wants a spill to happen, but it’s important to plan for all possibilities. Your employees should know the seven-step process of a spill response and where they fit into that response. Employees at different levels may respond differently, such as managers and floor workers, so make sure that spill response training is specific to each employee’s role at your company. If employees have to meet with outside assistance during spill responses, train them on effective communication.
Signs and Symptoms of Chemical Exposure
Exposure can happen during chemical spills and other situations. All your employees should know the signs of chemical exposure to a structure, such as how a corrosive chemical reacts with the flooring in your facility. They should also know the symptoms of chemical exposure in humans, such as blurred vision, nausea, and feeling faint. If they can recognize these signs and symptoms, they can get help as quickly as possible to protect themselves.
The key points to make in chemical handling training focus on explaining the obvious and responding when things don’t go to plan. When you provide thorough training for your team, you set everyone up for safety and success.