Train your employees what to wear when handling corrosive hazards

December 31, 2012 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Do your employees know how to use PPE to protect themselves from corrosive hazards?

November is National Healthy Skin Month so you can use that as a hook for new or refresher training on protection from corrosive hazards—including skin protection.
Instruct employees that when engineering controls can’t fully protect them from corrosive hazards, personal protective equipment (PPE) is required. Train them to select PPE on the basis of the type of corrosive as well as the type of possible exposures.
What to Wear for Corrosives
Give them these guidelines:
• Wear safety glasses with full side shields to provide minimum eye protection for use with small quantities that are not highly corrosive. But goggles provide better protection and must be used when handling highly concentrated corrosives or large quantities of corrosives. Goggles must also be worn when corrosives are heated, agitated, poured, or mixed.
• Wear a face shield over eye protection in case of splashing to protect your face. A face shield alone is not adequate eye protection.
• Wear chemical-resistant gloves, usually made of neoprene or rubber, when working with corrosives. Consult the material safety data sheet (MSDS)/safety data sheet (SDS) for the right type of glove. Other materials might also be acceptable.
• Wear aprons, boots, hoods, or other chemical-resistant clothing as needed to prevent skin contact with corrosives. Again, consult the SDS for recommendations.
• Wear a respirator when required for exposure to vapors, mists, or dusts. Air-purifying respirators with acid gas cartridges might be OK for low concentrations. For higher concentrations, an air-supplied respirator might be required. Check the SDS for complete information. In addition to selecting the right type of PPE, you must also store it safely, inspect it before each use, and dispose of damaged PPE.
When (and How) to Inspect
Furthermore, impress on employees that it is essential to inspect each item of PPE they use before each use to make sure it is in good, safe condition. Show them how to look for cracks, tears, discoloration or fading, bubbling, peeling, or brittle spots.
Warn them that after being in storage, PPE may deteriorate for many reasons. Thus, inspecting PPE before use is critical.
Also instruct employees to dispose of damaged PPE right away. They should never use any PPE that may be questionable. Get a replacement. For example, replace used canisters/cartridges and worn valves, straps, etc. Employees’ health and safety depends on the protection their PPE affords.
Instruct employees to wash PPE carefully and air-dry it after use and before storing it. Direct them to store all PPE away from corrosive operations to prevent contamination.

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