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Chemical handling: 11 important safety rules

The following are 11 basic safety rules that chemical handlers in New Jersey will want to see incorporated into their workplace and follow. They are all top priorities, so no particular order is given. The first rule is for workers to follow all established practices and go about their duties as they were trained to do. The second rule is to be cautious and anticipate any hazards before working.

Employers, for their part, should have procedures in place for emergency situations like fires and spills. They should ensure that the workplace is cleaned to prevent contamination. They are required to provide workers with personal protective equipment like gloves and respirators, and worn-out or damaged PPE should be replaced.

Materials should be correctly labeled and stored in appropriate containers. Employees are to report damaged containers and illegible labeling. Workers should refer to the labels and the material safety data sheet before using a chemical; these are also helpful for identifying the properties and hazards of a chemical.

Workers should store all materials in a dry, cool, ventilated area and separate incompatibles. Materials are to be used according to their intended purpose. Lastly, workers should not eat, drink or touch their face or their eyes when their hands are contaminated with chemicals.

Injured employees may be reimbursed for their medical expenses and lost wages regardless of who was at fault if they file a workers' compensation claim. The process can be complex, and a denial of the claim may necessitate an appeal, so victims may want a lawyer to guide them through each step and speak on their behalf. The lawyer might also discuss with them the pros and cons of settling. Those who choose to settle will need to attend a hearing.

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