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Working Safely with Chemicals


One of the most dangerous and most common chemical accidents occurs when household bleach or other bleach products are mixed with acids. The result is a release of poisonous gas that is possibly disabling and potentially fatal.

Other dangerous gases can be released from mixing common chemical products such as vinegar, drain cleaner, bleach, ammonia and lye. Mixing incompatible products can also cause overheating and the danger of boiling and splash out.


  • Store chemical products in a cool dry place.
  • Containers should be on shelves, not on the floors.
  • Make sure all containers are tightly closed.
  • Place containers so that the labels are visible.
  • Containers should not be stacked more than three high.
  • Hazardous materials such as a strong alkalis, bleaches and acids should be stored on the bottom shelves.
  • Hazardous materials should be separated from each other in storage to avoid accidental mixing.


  • Be careful when lifting heavy containers to avoid falls, back strain or other injuries.
  • Wear protective clothing as recommended on the product label or in the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).
  • Never open a chemical container that is higher than your chest.
  • Never open a container until it is safely in its use position. An open container, bumped against a counter can splash concentrated product into your eyes    or on to your skin.
  • It is safer to discard the last quarter inch of liquid than to attempt to pour it into another container.
  • If necessary to pour from one container to the other, be extremely careful to avoid spills or skin contact.
  • Where products are dispensed through plastic tubing, make sure each tube is equipped with a solid tube stiffener to prevent chemical splash from a    springy feed tube. Only handle the dry end of the tube and tube stiffener.


  • In cases of spillage of hazardous materials, notify your supervisor immediately.
  • Clean up spills immediately while wearing suitable protective clothing to avoid skin contact or accidents from slippery floor surfaces.
  • In case of skin contact, immediately flush skin area with plenty of cool fresh water and contact a doctor if irritation develops or persists. Refer to the    Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for more complete information.
  • In case of eye contact, immediately flush eyes with plenty of cool fresh water and contact a physician. Refer to your Material Safety Data Sheet    (MSDS) for more complete information.
  • In case of accidental swallowing of a chemical product, immediately refer to your Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for proper treatment and contact a    physician.
  • Notify your supervisor of all accidents.


  • Use and dilute products according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Do not dilute products with boiling water. Use only water under 65 degrees Celsius, 150 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent possible chemical heat reaction    and splashing.
  • Always add the chemical product to water. Adding water to chemicals can cause splashing of the concentrated product into the eyes or onto the skin.
  • Make sure that powdered or encapsulated products are completely dissolved by stirring or agitation before use.
  • Diluted or decanted products require a WHIMIS workplace label on the container unless:

    1. The diluted or decanted product is required for immediate and total use (mop pail, pre-wash sink, bus pan, etc.).

    2. The diluted or decanted product is under control and used exclusively by the employee who filled the container and it is used only during the     employee's single shift and the content of the container is clearly identified.

    3. As a matter of practice we recommend that whenever a product is decanted, a Workplace Label is prepared for the new container.


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