Working with chemicals? Stay safe!
Chemicals such as toxics, corrosives and solvents are a major part of our everyday lives, whether we're at home, work or play. As long as we take proper precautions, these can be handled safely.
Around the house or in the garage at home, you might encounter gasoline, paints and fertilizers, to list just a few. However, chemicals at work can be even more hazardous - take facility-specific solvents, for example, or laboratory chemicals, fuels, industrial paints and lubricants.
We can be exposed to chemicals in several ways:
Inhalation - Breathing in dusts, mists and vapors can happens when working with or around bags of dry concrete mix without a respirator.
Ingestion - If you're eating lunch where there are airborne contaminants, or you skipped washing your hands after working with chemicals, then enjoying your sandwich is a bad recipe!
Absorption - Skin contact with a chemical can cause dermatitis and eye irritations.
Injection - Usually we think about this as forcing an agent into the body through a needle, but a high-pressure device like a pressure washer can deliver a similar injection effect - and some very bad things can happen when what gets injected is a dangerous chemical.
You can protect yourself against chemical hazards by:
HANDLING SPRAY PAINT
Have you read the label on a spray can recently? Spray paint cans don't like temperatures above 120 degrees. Sitting in the sun on a warm day can drive the can up well over 120 degrees quickly. Always store cans in the shade until you need to use them, and then return them to the shade as soon as you're done.
Why, you ask. Because the cans can explode! Really, when they are too hot, the pressure inside becomes so great they will burst if dropped or bumped, sending shrapnel in all directions! This is no urban legend. It can happen to you; treat your spray cans with care!