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Chemical Dangers at the Workplace

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Although undoubtedly handy, cleaners that contain chemicals such as ammonia and bleach can be harmful if not handled properly. That is why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates that as a business owner, you recognize these potential dangers and train your employees how to use them accordingly. These products can be found in virtually any workplace, but are especially prevalent in schools, hotels, manufacturing facilities, hospitals and restaurants.

Failure to adhere to OSHA's standards on proper practices can endanger the lives of workers. Chemicals found in disinfectants have been known to cause asthma, rashes, wheezing, coughing and irritated skin and eyes. As such, it's critical that you take the following factors into consideration when deciding which sanitizing products to purchase:

  • The ventilation in your workplace
  • What type of protective clothing employees will have access to
  • How the cleaning solution is going to be stored

It is important to realize that just because cleaners are labeled as environmentally friendly doesn't mean that they can be used without taking any precautionary measures. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Disinfectants that are considered "green" or organic are held to stringent regulations that include the exclusion of ozone depleting ingredients, reduced or no added fragrances or dye and recycled packages.

After purchasing products, you'll need to train your workers on how to handle them. OSHA has set forth specific topics you need to cover which include:

  • What to do if cleaning solutions spills
  • The potential dangers
  • How to acquire information on hazard information
  • The ways in which to properly use, wear and fit safety gear like gloves and goggles
  • How to store chemical cleaners

Of course, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to visit OSHA's website, www.OSHA.gov. Here, you'll find tons of information on disinfectants and a wide range of other topics like fall prevention and what happens during an OSHA inspection. 

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