Jainchill & Beckert, LLC

Keeping chemical handlers safe with 11 rules

Employers in Connecticut who have their workers handle hazardous chemicals will want to make sure the following 11 rules are incorporated into their own safety policies. They should, first of all, have employees perform their duties just as they were trained to do and not deviate from established practices. They should also provide their employees with personal protective equipment like gloves and respirators: whatever applies to their workplace.

Thirdly, employers must have emergency procedures in place for fires and spills, among other emergency situations. Employees are encouraged to be cautious and always think ahead on potential hazards. Fifth, employees can be required to clean their work surfaces at least once during every shift to prevent contamination.

All materials need to have a legible label. The containers should be appropriate for the chemical and undamaged. The seventh and eighth rules are closely connected: Workers should consult the labels and the material safety data sheet to understand the hazards and to identify their properties. Materials are best stored in a dry, cool, ventilated area. Incompatibles should be separated.

Workers are to never eat or drink when handling chemicals. Contaminated hands should never go near their eyes or touch a contact lens. Lastly, workers must be told to never use materials for anything other than their intended purpose. Solvents, for example, are not meant for cleaning hands.

Exposure to chemicals counts as a workplace injury and should be covered under the workers' compensation program. Victims may be able to file a claim and be reimbursed for medical expenses and a portion of their lost wages. If they suffered a permanent disability, they might receive a certain amount for this as well. However, claims can still be denied and necessitate an appeal. Victims may consult with their lawyer about settling, which resolves a case without going to court.

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