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Cleaning chemicals safety checklist - avoiding accidents

By Linda Jackson on 16 August 2017

  • Do you have a complete list of all cleaning chemicals used in the facility - where they are stored and the potential hazards of and necessary precautions for each specific chemical (for instance, whether or not a chemical needs to be kept away from direct sunlight)
  • Do you have current Material safety data sheets (MSDS) for each chemical used or stored? Is this accessible to all staff?
  • Are all cleaning chemicals stored in their original containers to ensure that the containers are clearly marked and labeled with the manufacturer’s instructions for use and safety?
  • Do you ensure NO mixing chemicals, even if they are the same “type” of chemical?
  • Are chemicals stored in well-ventilated areas away from HVAC intake vents; this helps prevent any fumes from spreading to other areas of the facility. Are the areas demarcated and lockable to ensure non unauthorized access? Are chemicals stored separately based on their hazards such as corrosive/explosive etc.?
  • Have you installed safety signage in multiple languages (or, even better, using images and no words) that quickly conveys possible dangers and precautions related to the chemicals?
  • Have you trained all staff who use cleaning chemicals so they understand the following “signal words” mean: Caution: the product should be used carefully but is relatively safe; Warning: the product is moderately toxic; Danger: the product is highly toxic and may cause permanent damage to skin and eyes.
  • Do you have clear instructions for how to use the chemicals, where they should be used and what precautions should be taken?
  • Are there equally effective but safer cleaning alternatives available?
  • Do you minimise handling of cleaning chemicals by using auto-dilution/dispensing systems to mix chemicals?
  • Do you label any diluted chemicals used in spray bottles?
  • Do you encourage maintenance or production personnel to seek medical advice if any irritation or allergic reaction to a cleaning chemical develops.
  • Do you provide and enforce the wearing of protective equipment – or PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Rubber gloves and goggles are always a good idea.
  • Do you continue to monitor your chemical safety programme and provide ongoing training.

If you enforce all of these items, you should ensure safety chemical handling in your facility.