11 Rules for Safe Handling of Hazardous Materials
Rule #1. Follow all established procedures and perform job duties as you’ve been trained.
Rule #2. Be cautious and plan ahead. Think about what could go wrong and pay close attention to what you’re doing while you work.
Rule #3. Always use required PPE, and inspect it carefully before each use to make sure it’s safe to use. Replace worn out or damaged PPE; it won’t provide adequate protection.
Rule #4. Make sure all containers are properly labeled and that the material is contained in an appropriate container. Don’t use any material not contained or labeled properly. Report any damaged containers or illegible labels to your supervisor right away.
Rule #5. Read labels and the material safety data sheet (MSDS) before using any material to make sure you understand hazards and precautions.
Rule #6. Use all materials solely for their intended purpose. Don’t, for example, use solvents to clean your hands, or gasoline to wipe down equipment.
Rule #7. Never eat or drink while handling any materials If your hands are contaminated, don’t use cosmetics or handle contact lenses.
Rule #8. Read labels and refer to MSDSs to identify properties and hazards of chemical products and materials.
Rule #9. Store all materials properly, separate incompatibles, and store in ventilated, dry, cool areas.
Rule #10. Keep you and your work area clean. After handling any material, wash thoroughly with soap and water. Clean work surfaces so contamination risks are minimal.
Rule #11. Learn about emergency procedures and equipment. Understanding emergency procedures means knowing evacuation measures, emergency reporting procedures, and procedures for dealing with fires and spills. It also means knowing what to do in a medical emergency if a co-worker is injured or overcome by chemicals.