What Is a Toxic Manager’s Checklist?
Chemical hazards and toxic substances pose different types of hazards in the workplace. Exposure to these chemicals can have dire consequences on an individual’s health. That is why OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires manufacturers and employers to provide the chemical safety info on these substances.
When workers who are exposed to these hazards have the right information and the proper training, they will know how to handle these substances without exposing themselves to accidents or injuries.
Some of the general tips that might be included in a workplace chemical safety checklist include the following:
- Proper labeling of chemical containers
- Checking containers for damages and leaks
- Keeping containers tightly closed when not in use
- Keeping close contact with the toxic substance at a minimum.
- Reading and following the instructions on the label
In this article, the following points are explained:
What Are the Health Hazards of Chemical Exposure?
Most often than not, the health hazards caused by toxic substances are not visible right away. Sometimes, the symptoms manifest years later when it’s already too late. The actual health risk of a harmful chemical depends on how toxic it is and how long the exposure is. Here is an assessment of these toxic chemicals and their possible routes of entry.
Eye and Skin
Toxic chemicals often enter the body through direct contact with the skin or eyes. When you come in contact with a chemical, you might have an adverse reaction, like a burn or rash. Keep in mind that if it gets absorbed into your bloodstream, it can cause toxic effects on other parts of the body.
When you get exposed to toxic substances, you might experience symptoms like dry, whitened skin, redness and swelling, rashes or blisters, and itching. If you come in contact with hazardous chemicals, wash the affected area with water for at least 15 minutes. If you are still experiencing the symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
Toxic substances can also enter the body through the gastrointestinal tract. Although it is unlikely that anyone would accidentally consume a chemical, you might become exposed by ingesting contaminated food or by touching your mouth with hands that have come in contact with a hazardous substance. It is, therefore, advisable to wash your hands thoroughly when working with chemicals, even if you wore gloves while handling them.
If you have prolonged exposure to a chemical or toxic substance, you can experience what they call olfactory fatigue. It’s a condition where you lose your sense of smell, which increases the danger of over-exposure.
Some telling signs of overexposure include nose and throat irritation, increased mucus production, and headaches. It might also cause nausea, confusion, and dizziness.
Injection does not only mean exposure via a syringe or needle. Chemicals can also enter your body when you step on contaminated sharp objects or glass shards. If you are working around hazardous chemicals and accidentally step on or are cut with a sharp object, wash the wound with soap and water. It’s also a good idea to seek medical attention to prevent infection.
What Are the Chemical Safety Best Practices?
Knowledge and understanding of the basic safety guidelines can spell the difference between life and death, especially in extremely high-risk areas. Here are five basic safety practices you can adopt in your workplace:
Have a Neat and Organized Facility
These include all areas of the workplace:
- Work area – remove all the clutter and any possible hazards that might cause an injury or accident
- Chemical storage – follow the guidelines how each chemicals should be labeled, stored, and handled
- Hallways – just like the work area, remove any risk hazards and obstruction from your hallway
All Employees Should Be Aware of the Hazards
Ensure that there are warning signs near hazardous equipment and machinery, chemicals, and conditions. Chemicals should be properly labeled, and the appropriate protective equipment must be worn.
Follow Basic Safety Procedures
Do not underestimate the risks and hazards. Instead, evaluate the hazards in the workplace and follow the hazard control plan. Pay attention to the control measures for high-risk chemicals. Make sure that no one is doing unnecessary extra-curricular activities (i.e smoking, eating, drinking) in high-risk areas that may put everyone at risk.
Use Engineering Controls
Engineering controls lessens or removes exposure to chemical and physical hazards. These controls should function with little or no input from the workers. If the hazard cannot be eliminated or there’s no safer substitute, installing engineering controls is the next best step to protect workers from the hazards.
Some of the most common engineering controls are:
- Proper ventilation to improve indoor air quality
- Chemical fume hoods that suck out hazardous gasses, dust, and vapors from the work area.
- Biosafety cabinets where potentially contaminated pathogens are processed.
- Radiation shields
- Physical barriers when conducting potential splatter activities.
- Blast shield when combining substances with potentially explosive reactions.
Don’t Forget to Wear Appropriate Protective Equipment
PPEs control hazards that cannot be removed through administrative and engineering controls. There are different types of personal protective equipment for each type of workplace.
- Lab coats
- Rubber or coated apron
- Pierce-resistant jackets
What Are the Benefits of a Digital Toxic Managers Checklist?
Chemical injuries can be sneaky. A lot of people only know they’ve been exposed to a hazardous substance after they’ve already developed systems and, by then, the damage is already good and done. That’s why in industries where chemical exposure and contamination threatens the safety of its workers, the plant’s safety managers need to put a hazard management system in place. Lumiform offers a digital solution to mitigating the risk of unfavorable worker outcomes by giving you control over the whole inspection process and preventing exposure in the first place.
A digital toxic manager’s checklist presents the following advantages to plant workers:
- Prevent injuries and reduce risks – By conducting standardized checks with Lumiform’s EHS Software, you can identify risks faster and keep the risk of accidents to a minimum.
- The the flexible checklist builder helps you to convert any individual paper list into a digital checklist within minutes.
- Comply with regulations – You can edit and revise any existing template to comply with new industry and state regulations regarding on-site chemicals.
- Using the super intuitive mobile app, you and your teammates can conduct checks in the field and prevent chemical injuries.
- All comments, results, and images are automatically bundled into a digital report for you to review at your own convenience.
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