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Chemical Handling Workplace Safety - Dos and Don’ts

Chemical Handling Workplace Safety - Do’s and Don’ts
Chemical Handling Safety - Do’s and Don’ts

Chemical Handling Workplace Safety - Dos and Don’ts

Chemicals can be in any form, including liquid, solid, or gas, and can be life-threatening if not handled properly. It can also change state depending on temperature and pressure conditions. Therefore, an appropriate risk assessment should be carried out during storage and handling. Labelling, instructions, appropriate training, and safety awareness in the form of ‘Chemical Handling Safety Dos and Don'ts’ help keep the workplace safe and prevent accidents or diseases.
Chemicals that present potential health or physical hazards are classified as hazardous chemicals and special care should be taken when handling these chemicals. Irritating, sensitizing, and carcinogenic chemicals pose health hazards, while flammable, corrosive and explosive chemicals pose physical hazards.
Routes of exposure to chemicals may be by inhalation, injection or ingestion or absorption through the skin. Exposure to a chemical can cause acute or chronic health effects including cancer, fatal malformations, respiratory disease, endocrine and cardiovascular disorders, urinary disorders, neurodevelopment and immune disorders.
Chemical Handling Safety Dos and Don'ts can be posted in the workplace to educate and alert people to the hazardous properties of chemicals, first aid, and spill control methods. Some chemicals commonly handled in the workplace or in our daily lives are paints and thinners, body sprays, pesticides, cleaning chemicals, degreasers, detergents, herbicides, flammable liquids such as gasoline and diesel, flammable gases such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), welding fumes, corrosives, arsenic, lead, benzene, chromium, toluene, cadmium, mercury, acids and caustics, etc.

Chemical Handling Safety Dos and Don’ts

Safety instructions in the form of Do’s and Don’ts of chemical handling helps peoples to store, carry, use, and handle chemicals safely in the workplace or at home.


  1. Follow the manufacturer's and supplier's guideline for handling and storing chemicals.
  2. Keep a record of the expiration date of chemicals.
  3. Know the chemical hazards and the first aid method using the Safety Data Sheet (former name MSDS) before handling.
  4. Display and keep SDSs where chemicals are handled.
  5. Post the chemical compatibility chart near the chemical storage area.
  6. Water reactive chemicals should not be stored outside of the shed or where there is a risk of exposure to water.
  7. Radioactive chemicals should only be handled by authorized personnel.
  8. All electrical equipment and electrical equipment must comply with the classification of electrical zones.
  9. Use appropriate PPE according to the nature of the work and the type of exposure.
  10. Provide safety shower and eye wash near chemical storage area and ensure its operability.
  11. When exposed, use a safety shower or eye wash for at least 15 minutes.
  12. Label all chemicals used and seal the container tightly.
  13. Before servicing or maintenance, completely drain or bleed and flush lines or equipment.
  14. Blank or blind lines or equipment before starting maintenance work.
  15. Provide adequate ventilation in the chemical handling area.
  16. Provide a suitable shed with adequate ventilation for the storage of chemicals.
  17. Ensure adequate drainage and the integrity of the dyke wall around the chemical storage.
  18. Restrict unauthorized entry into the chemical storage area.
  19. Clean up any spills in the area immediately, use chemical inhibitor sand to remove it.
  20. Use the drip tray when transferring chemicals from one portable container to another.
  21. Trained all the people who are responsible for handling chemicals.
  22. Follow standard procedure for handling, storing, and disposing of chemicals.
  23. Maintain good housekeeping in and around the chemical storage area.
  24. Wash your hand before eating food and maintain general hygiene.


  1. Don’t store incompatible chemicals together.
  2. Don’t store the chemical in direct sunlight.
  3. Don’t spill chemicals.
  4. Don’t leave chemical containers with the lid open unattended.
  5. Don’t mix contaminated chemical inhibitor sand with other wastes to avoid fire hazard.
  6. Don’t mix different wastes or contaminated chemicals in the same container to avoid violent reactions.
  7. Don’t throw away reactive chemicals without neutralizing.
  8. Don’t keep a large inventory of chemicals.
  9. Don’t store peroxides or oxidizing agents with flammable solvents.
  10. Don’t allow reuse of empty chemical containers.
  11. Don’t store empty chemical containers with full one.
  12. Don’t use compressed air to transfer chemicals.
  13. Don’t try to siphon the chemical through your mouth.
  14. Avoid using hoses for the transfer of chemicals.
  15. Don’t use damaged or uncleaned hoses after use.
  16. Acid canisters should never be moved without protection.
  17. Don’t neutralize when exposed to acid or alkali.
  18. Don’t use plastic container to transport and temporarily store flammable chemicals.
  19. Don’t transport chemical samples (flammable chemical sample bottle) in a glass vial to avoid accidental damage and spillage.
  20. Don’t store combustible waste near the chemical storage area.

The Dos and Don'ts of chemical handling can be prepared in pictorial form and displayed in the workplace to provide a quick and easy guide for workers. This not only helps to improve work efficiency, but also helps to minimize common mistakes when handling chemicals.

Training, education and regular awareness of chemical handling safety help to increase workers' confidence in first aid, spill management and thus incident prevention. The display of the Chemical Handling Safety Do’s and Don'ts is a great way to educate workers or employees in the workplace.

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