Chemical hazards Not all chemicals are hazardous (e.g. water). Chemical hazards are those that have toxic or harmful effects on the body.
Chemical hazards The hazard may be in the form of mists, fumes, vapours, gases, liquids, dusts, or solids. Working in a vented chemical fume hood
Acute effects Some chemicals can have acute (immediate and severe) health effects. E.g. chlorine, used to bleach paper, sanitize water, and make products such as plastics and solvents, is a very poisonous gas.
Chronic effects Negative effects from other chemicals may be chronic, taking years to show. E.g. inhaling silica dust, used to make ceramics and glass, will eventually give you silicosis, a serious respiratory disease.
Minimizing hazards Chemical hazards can be minimized by: Training all staff in the safe use and disposal of chemicals. Keeping chemicals in approved containers that have been labelled with the contents, dangers, and first aid procedures. Authorized = Trained
HHPS Hazardous Household Product Symbols are used on the labels of consumer products:
Corrosive Corrosive products will burn the skin and eyes on contact as well as the throat and stomach if swallowed (e.g. drain cleaner).
Flammable Flammable products or their fumes catch fire very easily, even from a spark (e.g. alcohol-based products). Hairsprays are often a large fraction alcohol.
Poison Poisonous products can cause illness or death if licked, drunk, eaten, or sometimes inhaled (e.g. most everything that’s not food).
Explosive Explosive products may explode their container (often aerosol cans) if the container is heated or punctured. Note that products may be marked with more than one symbol.
WHMIS WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) symbols are used to alert people to the hazards of materials used mainly in the workplace. These symbols are mandatory on all products containing controlled materials.
WHMIS There are two types of WHMIS labels: Supplier labels Workplace labels
Supplier labels Supplier labels may be identified by the broken line around the label. They must contain: the name of the product hazard symbols precautionary measures first aid treatment a statement referring to the MSDS
Workplace labels Workplace labels may be used after chemicals are transferred to another container. They may have different formats and less information, but they should still: identify the hazard provide information for safe handling refer to the MSDS
The MSDS The MSDS, or Material Safety Data Sheet, must be provided by the supplier and kept accessible by the employer.
NFPA Labels Many products will also be labelled with the U.S. National Fire Protection symbol:
PPE The MSDS may advise handlers to wear specific Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including: eye protection: goggles, face shields, etc. gloves: chemical-resistant, heat-resistant, etc. footwear and clothing (no sandals!) respirators Employees must be trained in the use of all PPE.
Disposal Chemicals must be disposed of such that they do not contaminate water supplies, groundwater, air, or soil.
First aid Flush skin or eyes for 15 – 20 minutes following contact In the case of ingestion, do not induce vomiting or administer an antidote (e.g. activated charcoal). Call Poison Control! Consult the MSDS