Chemical handlers and their employers can consider the following safety rules, leaving out some and adding any of their own depending on the needs of their workplace. The first rule is to follow all established procedures. Employers therefore have to ensure proper training. Secondly, employers should have emergency procedures in place, such as for evacuation and incident reporting.
Workers should have personal protective equipment that’s appropriate for the workplace, such as gloves or respirators, and not worn or damaged. Before they start working, employees are encouraged to think about what could go wrong. Keeping the work area clean is also essential. Cleaning work surfaces at least once during every shift can prevent contamination.
Workers should not eat or drink when handling hazardous materials, and they should avoid using cosmetics or touching contact lenses with contaminated hands. All materials are to be used for their intended purpose; no solvents should be used to wash hands, to give an example. Workers should identify hazards by referring to the label and the material safety data sheet.
The label and MSDS should be consulted before working with a chemical. Another rule is that all materials should be stored in the right container and properly labeled. Damaged containers and illegible labels are to be reported. Lastly, employers should store all containers in dry, cool, ventilated areas.
Injured employees might file a workers’ compensation claim to be reimbursed for their medical expenses and lost wages regardless of who, if anyone, was at fault for the accident. They can choose to settle, so they may want to consult with a lawyer about which is the better way to go. Settling will mean dealing with the North Carolina Industrial Commission, but the lawyer may accompany the victim at every step and assist with appeals.