Working with toxic materials should never be underestimated, no matter how much experience you have. The smallest error can cause serious harm to a person and mistakes can usually be avoided with proper preparation and putting safety precautions in place. Toxic materials can enter the body in many different ways which is why it’s important always to find new ways to protect your employees. This blog post looks at five different tips that will help you protect your team when working with toxic materials.
1. Only Work With Good Ventilation
Work cannot begin until you ensure there’s proper ventilation. Ventilation systems are designed to remove toxic fumes, mists and any airborne specks of dust that may be present in the environment. Inhaling these irritants can have possibly disastrous effects on your health, especially in the long term. You’ll need to assess the way your company is using the toxic materials to determine the best type of ventilation system.
Some places may need a complete system of hoods and ducts where other businesses will be fine with just a single exhaust fan. Other factors to consider include the size and layout of the workshop, how frequently you’re using the toxic materials and how much of the poisonous substances you’re using.
2. Try And Use Nontoxic Substances Where Possible
Often, the best way to negate the effects of hazardous materials is to find alternatives. Although it’s not always possible to find a nontoxic substitute that still does the job, it’s still worth the time and effort to take a look. When comparing materials, looking at the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) to help you find chemicals with the least amount of side effects.
Looking at the MSDS will help you find the least hazardous material that can still accomplish the task you’re working on. Before making a decision on a substitute, consider all the health, fire and chemical reactivity effects that come with the substance.
3. Make Sure You Store Your Chemical Substances Properly
Storing your materials correctly is a crucial part of establishing safety in the workplace. Your storage area needs to be labeled with clearly visible biohazard labels warning people of the different dangers. You should also include biohazard labels that include recovery information in case of accidental exposure. Your storage area needs to be regularly inspected for any leaks, damaged containers or other deficiencies.
It’s also a good idea to store containers at a height that makes it easy for your staff to handle the materials. High shelving increases the risk of accident and injury if a fall happens.
4. Make Sure You Wear Protective Equipment
Protective equipment is one of the most approved methods of protecting your team members from hazardous materials. It’s always important to choose protective equipment based on the job. It’s worth the time and effort to consult with a professional who can recommend safety equipment for specific toxins.
Before any toxic materials are brought into your office, the appropriate protective equipment needs to be selected and available to your staff. It’s also important that your staff is properly trained in using the safety equipment.
5. Make Sure You Safely Dispose Of Your Materials
It’s absolutely crucial that you dispose toxic materials in the right way. Carelessly throwing away toxic materials has a significant impact on the environment and poses a health hazard to people in the area. It’s important that your staff is familiar with the federal, provincial and local requirements when it comes to the disposal of toxic materials.
Controlled incineration and secure landfills are common options. Keep in mind that empty containers cannot be reused since they may contain toxic residues. The containers must be treated as hazardous waste until the container is safely decontaminated.