Cleaning and hygiene is super important in every workplace. But before we can talk about that safety must come first. Keeping people safe is our highest priority. Sure, your cleaning chemicals might say they are safe and natural, but that doesn't mean they won't hurt you if used incorrectly. Treating all cleaning solutions the same, with caution, is the safe way to go.
This might sound like a list of boring school rules meant to ruin your fun but one of them might just save you plenty pain and suffering. Check them out and feel free to use them in your business. I've put my top 6 at the top of the list.
1. Treat all chemicals with respect
Treat all chemicals and cleaning solutions with respect, even if they are non-hazardous, natural or claim to be chemical free. Read the label, training information guides and SDS prior to use. Know where these documents are and refer to them often.
2. Do not mix chemicals together
If you do this serious injury or death may occur. Do not ‘Top Up’ bottles, you risk cross contamination and could possibly mix chemicals. Always use clean empty containers for refilling.
3. Know the the products you use
Make yourself aware of the colour, characteristics and safety directions of the products you use.
4. Only use products with a label
Always report any damaged or illegible labels to your supervisor. Ensure the bottle has the correct product in it and is correctly labeled. Replace any labels, which are damaged or illegible.
5. If you’re unsure… STOP!
If you are unsure of anything or have any concerns see your supervisor immediately and refer to the relevant documents.
6. Always wear gloves and all required personal protective equipment (PPE)
Avoid splashes. Always wear gloves and all required personal protective equipment as indicated on the SDS. Gloves are to be worn at all times when using chemicals, emptying waste, cleaning toilets, cleaning up body secretions and whenever you supervisor instructs you to.
7. Dilute cleaning chemicals correctly
Always use chemicals as per the instructions on the label, training information guides, wall charts and SDS. Mix and measure correctly. Do NOT over use chemical concentrates when diluting. More chemical does not always do a better job but the right amount will. If you have access to chemical dispensing equipment, do NOT use it unless you know how to safely operate the system.
Important: When manually diluting chemicals always add water to the bottle or bucket first, then add the chemical next. This minimizes the risk of the concentrated chemical splashing back at you.
8. Use the right cleaning chemical for the job
Always use the right chemicals for the right job. If in doubt as to the correct use of the chemical, do NOT use it.
9. Dealing with drums and bottles
Seal all containers when not in use. Do NOT leave any chemical where a child or the general public might have access. Do not open damaged containers, return them or seek advice from your supplier. Do NOT use old drink bottles or food containers to store cleaning chemicals. Mix up fresh solution
10. Return cleaning solutions after use
When finished with chemicals, wipe down the bottle and store away safely in the chemical cupboard. Keep work and storage areas clean and uncluttered.
11. Know how cleaning chemicals can enter your body and protect yourself
Chemicals can enter your body by absorption (direct contact), inhalation and ingestion. Personal Protection Equipment is not optional and must be worn.
12. In the case of accidents, Act Immediately!
Report all spills, accidents and safety problems as soon as possible. Ensure spill kits are available and easily accessible. Remove spills as per SDS directions. If unable to contain spills safely report the issue to your supervisor or management immediately.
13. Safety signs must always be used
Whenever a floor surface is wet the risk of a slip and fall accident increases and people need to be warned.
14. Ensure first aid kits are easily accessible
15. Store and stack chemicals safely
Stacking chemical drums and boxes too high is unsafe and may cause damage. It is advisable to store powders above liquids. Ensure chemicals are stored in a cool, well ventilated area away from direct sunlight and out of the reach of children.
16. Wash hands
Always wash your hands regularly and after using chemicals even if gloves were worn. Good hygiene practices and regular use of a hand sanitiser is also recommended.
Ensure there is good ventilation in the storeroom and when you are using chemicals. Extra caution should always be exercised when using any kind of spray in a confined space (eg. bathroom).
18. No smoking
Do not smoke anywhere near chemicals or whilst you are using chemicals.
19. Food safety
Do not use any chemicals near food unless they are for a food related task (eg. Vegetable Sanitiser).
20. Proper lifting techniques
Bend your knees not your back. Avoid any heavy lifting and seek assistance when necessary.
21. Use common sense
Safety is in your hands. Take responsibility for your actions, work safely and protect yourself along with those around you.
Feel free to call our customer care team on 1300 123 499, if you require any help or advice on cleaning chemical safety in your workplace. For more information on our range of safe and natural cleaning solutions for your workplace you can also visit the XO2 cleaning chemical online store page.