4 Tips to Protect Yourself from Chemical Splashes

Just the thought of something coming at your face can make most people wince. Imagine the anxiety of employees who work around and with hazardous chemicals and don’t have the proper protection—or know the proper emergency procedures. Yesterday we offered three tips for environmental health and safety (EHS) managers to protect their workers from chemical splashes. Today we will discuss ways workers can help protect themselves from chemical splashes in the workplace.

If your facility uses chemicals, the task of training and implementing a chemical safety program most likely falls to you as the EHS manager. Here are some safety tips you can provide to your workers so that they can help in protecting themselves from chemical splashes.

Tips for workers

Tip 1: Prevent accidents

Make sure you know the hazards of any chemicals you handle at work. This should be provided to you in training sessions. Also, read the safety data sheet (SDS) for any chemical you use. The SDS will provide information that will be critical in the event of a chemical accident.

Tip 2: Use and maintain PPE.

Your supervisor will provide the protector appropriate for the particular job you will be doing. When you receive your personal protective equipment (PPE), check it to make certain it has a “D3” marking along with the manufacturer mark on it. It may also have a “+” sign to indicate it is impact-rated, which protects you in the event of an accidental chemical explosion.

Make sure the PPE fits right and is maintained. Eye protection needs to fit right or it can’t do the job it is intended to do. Loosely fitting goggles, for example, could let in harmful chemical vapors that could burn the eyes. Gaps between the face and the side shields on safety glasses could allow a tiny particle to hit the eye. And eye protection that’s damaged or worn out can’t do the job either. Scratched or pitted lenses make seeing hard and could lead to an accident. Stretched straps or bent frames mean the eyewear won’t fit right and could expose the eyes to hazards.

Also, you need to understand that the atmospheric conditions of your work area and the restricted ventilation of the PPE may cause the lenses to fog. In addition, you may splash the protector, so it could require frequent cleaning.

Tip 3: Know where your eyewash stations are and how to use them.

Your response to a chemical splash can determine whether your injury will be permanent. In the event of a chemical splash, ways you can help prevent permanent damage include:

  • Pay careful attention when your trainer shows you how to operate the eyewash—in case of an accident, there is no time to learn its use.
  • Use an emergency eyewash is immediately after a splash. DON’T WAIT! Not even a few seconds!
  • Wash your hands.
  • Do not rub your eyes.
  • Flush your eyes with water immediately while forcing the eyelids open.
  • Roll your eyes so water can flow all around the eye.
  • Continue flushing for at least 15 minutes.
  • If you are wearing contact lenses, you can gently take them out while you are flushing. Don’t delay the flushing to take out your lenses but make sure that you take them out because they could trap the chemical in your eyes.
  • Seek emergency medical help quickly.

Tip 4: Help a colleague

You can help a fellow worker in case of a splash—the natural reaction for anyone is to close their eyes. Here’s how you can help:

  • Lead them to the eyewash station at once.
  • Help hold the eyelids open and have them roll their eyes so water can flow all around the eye.
  • Have someone call for immediate medical assistance.
  • Don’t stop flushing for at least 15 minutes.

There are thousands of chemicals in use in U.S. workplaces. BLR’s Trac360 Chemical Lists provides real time updates to every important regulatory list you need to maintain your environmental, health, and safety reporting of chemicals.


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