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Cleaning Chemicals Safety Tips

What to use and when to use it, to keep you and others safe.

By - Jun 19th, 2020 04:05 pm
Cleaning Supplies.

Cleaning Supplies Photo by Marco Verch. (CC BY 2.0)

Essential businesses have been working to keep spaces clean for employees and customers alike, and adopting stricter cleaning regimens to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

As more businesses begin to reopen and employees return to shared office spaces, frequent cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting will be necessary to keep individuals healthy, but it’s important to do so safely. Cleaning supplies, even those considered ‘consumer-strength’ can be harmful, and worker’s compensation claims have been on the rise due to excessive exposure to cleaning chemicals and agents.

To ensure the health of the workplace – without risking your safety and the safety of others – follow these guidelines when cleaning.

Know what to use: Cleaners, sanitizers and disinfectants are all different products with unique uses. Cleaners remove dirt through wiping, scrubbing or mopping. Sanitizers contain chemicals that reduce microorganisms like bacteria, viruses and molds from surfaces. And disinfectants contain chemicals that destroy or inactivate microorganisms that cause infection.

Disinfectants are the most potent of the three options, often used in hospital and other healthcare settings where controlling spread of infections is most critical. Sanitizers are the next most potent and are commonly used to clean toilets and food preparation areas. Cleaners are the least potent. When cleaning, it is important to employ the least potent substance required for the job in order to minimize any potential harm.

Know how to use them: In addition to selecting the least hazardous option possible, knowing how to use each product safely is necessary in keeping yourself and others safe. Educate yourself on the product ingredients, directions for use and hazard information before using a substance, including the Poison Control Number (800-222-1222). Be sure to check if a product must be diluted before use and do not mix cleaning chemicals unless instructed to do so, as highly concentrated chemicals and some mixtures can result in serious damage to the skin, eyes and lungs.

Maintain a safe environment: Be aware of how the space around you can help or harm you while using cleaning chemicals. Make sure the area being cleaned is well ventilated. If necessary, open windows or use a fan to keep fresh air circulated. If the smell of cleaning chemicals irritates you or makes you feel light-headed, remove yourself from the area immediately.

To keep yourself safe, wear proper personal protective equipment including gloves, long sleeves, eye protection and a smock. These items will prevent injury in case chemicals splash up toward the arms, face or body.

Avoid eating, drinking and touching your face, skin and eyes during and after using chemicals. After use, be sure to wash your hands and follow proper storage guidelines to prevent any accidental spills or exposure.

Learn more about how to keep the workplace safe at the West Bend Business Blog.

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