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Chemical Safety in the Workplace


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Chemical Safety in the Workplace

  1. 1. Stewart Sampson Safety Services Nova Scotia
  2. 2.          It can happen!! Hazard Communication MSDS Understanding Hazards Chemical Storage Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Chemical Spill Response Waste Disposal General Safety Rules
  3. 3.   Small tubes of petroleum ether were stored in an ordinary domestic freezer. The tubes were not sealed well and the PE evaporated to a concentration exceeded the lower explosive limit, about 1.0% ◦ Flash point of PE is -50 °C  A spark from an internal component of the freezer caused the PE to ignite $500 000 in damage  What caused this? 
  4. 4.  Anaerobic hood — an oxygen-free chamber used for working with bacteria that can't survive in oxygen Lab personnel ignored a "warning system" designed to tell researchers when too much hydrogen enters the chamber and becomes flammable An explosion resulted when the gas came into contact with an ignition source Four people injured One critically  What caused this?    
  5. 5.  Hazard Communication ◦ Allows workers to know the hazards and identities of the chemicals they are exposed to while working. Describes measures they can take to protect themselves.  Hazards are communicated by: ◦ Labels ◦ Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) ◦ Education and Training
  6. 6.  MSDS – a document prepared by the chemical manufacturer that describes the: ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ physical and chemical properties physical and health hazards routes of exposure precautions for safe handling and use emergency and first-aid procedures control measures
  7. 7. What are the WHMIS Hazard Classes? Compressed Gas Flammable and Combustible Material Oxidizing Material Poisonous and Infectious Material Corrosive Material Dangerously Reactive Material
  8. 8.  Toxicity ◦ the ability of a chemical to cause harm ◦ Like “Hazard” in general safety terms  Risk ◦ likelihood a material will cause harm under the conditions of use   With proper handling, even highly toxic chemicals can be used safely Less toxic chemicals can be extremely hazardous if handled improperly
  9. 9.  Inhalation – breathing (e.g., powders, fumes) Absorption – skin or mucus membranes Ingestion – entry through mouth Injection – through skin by foreign body  Acute Exposure (short term): eye irritation,     nausea, dizziness, skin rash, burns, headache Chronic Exposure (long term): long-term illness
  10. 10.   In 2008, Sangji was working with a bottle of t-butyl lithium dissolved in pentane While using a syringe to withdraw a quantity of the reagent, it seems she accidentally pulled the plunger all the way out, introducing air and creating a flash fire ◦ “Sangji was not familiar enough with the material and delivery means to be doing the experiment on her own”    Sangji was wearing nitrile gloves, safety glasses rather than goggles, and a synthetic sweater with no lab coat When the fire ignited the gloves and the sweater, she sustained second and third degree burns over 40 per cent of her body and was immediately hospitalized She died 19 days later
  11. 11.  eliminate the hazard;  substitute other materials, processes, or equipment;  engineering controls; ◦ Not using high shelves ◦ Toluene for benzene ◦ Fume hoods, engineered sharps ◦ Eye Wash  Eye wash station; Disposable Eye Wash  systems that increase awareness of potential hazards; administrative controls  Personal protective equipment  ◦ training and procedures, instructions, scheduling; ◦ Gloves, lab coats/uniforms, eye protection, safety shoes, respirators, face shields ◦ Gloves  Use proper size  Use proper glove material
  12. 12.   Professor of chemistry at Dartmouth College specialized in toxic metal exposure A few drops of dimethylmercury was accidentally spilled onto her hands ◦ Protected only by latex glove ◦ Tests later showed that DMM can rapidly permeate latex gloves and enter the skin within 15 seconds  Single exposure to DMM had raised her blood mercury level to 80 times the toxic threshold ◦ Delayed neurotoxic effects caused her to be hospitalized after 5 months, and she died 10 months after the accident  She was 48
  13. 13. White = OK Red = Incompatible
  14. 14.   Do not respond beyond your training level! Stop, think – Is this a Major spill? ◦ No       Remove contaminated clothing Use proper PPE Contain spill Notify workers in your area Seek MSDS for advice Notify supervisor / security     Rescue Avoid the chemical Find the MSDS Telephone for help ◦ Yes
  15. 15.  Stop, think – Can I extinguish this fire? ◦ Yes      Extinguish open flames Turn off gas / electricity Notify workers in your area Ventilate work area Notify supervisor / security ◦ No  Evacuate area immediately and pull alarm  Call emergency number
  16. 16.        Minimize waste in the first place Do not pour chemical waste down the drain Know your chemical classification Use flame resistant container with label Don’t leave funnel on top of waste container Use proper mercury disposal (broken thermometers) Call for pick up
  17. 17.      Store chemicals in their original containers Always wear appropriate safety gear and work in a controlled environment Always dispose of chemicals properly Use care in handling contaminated glassware or needles Always dispose of chemicals properly
  18. 18.      Don’t buy chemicals you do not need Don’t eat, drink, smoke, chew gum or apply cosmetics near chemicals Don’t mouth pipette Don’t use unlabeled containers Know chemical properties as well as toxicity
  19. 19.  Any final questions? Thoughts?