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If your employees work with chemical solvents, follow this process to determine what PPE they need

by , 28 January 2015
Chemical solvents, such as iso-propyl alcohol, are toxic. They can burn their eyes, lungs and skin. And over time, their poisons could kill them.

That's why you need to give your employees PPE to protect them when they work with chemicals.

But how do you know exactly what type of protective equipment to give them? After all, all chemicals are different.

The good news is, there's an easy way to determine the PPE your employees need.

Just follow this simple process so you can quickly and easily work out what they need...

 

Here's how to determine what PPE to give employees who work with chemical solvents 

 
The first thing you need to do is a risk assessment. This will help you understand the actual risks particular chemicals pose.
 
For example, you can see if the chemicals your employees work with can absorb into their skin. Or will just cause a skin rash if it comes in contact with their skin. If you're not sure how to do a risk assessment, I recommend you check out the Risk Assessment Toolkit
 
Here's what you need to take note of during your risk assessment to determine your employees' PPE needs.
 
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Take note of the possible effects the chemicals your employees work with to determine their PPE needs

 
1. Do the chemicals give off harsh fumes?
 
If so, you need to give your employees:
 
- Safety goggles to protect their eyes. From fumes that can damage your employees' eyes and even make them go blind.
- Face masks to stop them breathing in the fumes. Depending on how toxic the fumes are, you may need to give your employee respirators. These filter the air so your employees don't breathe in the fumes at all. Make sure what ever you give your employees covers their noses as well as their mouths.
 
2. Can the chemical burn, irritate or absorb through skin?
 
If so, your employees need:
 
- Thick rubber gloves to stop the chemicals coming into contact with their hands. Depending on how dangerous the chemicals are, you may need to give your employees thicker or thinner gloves; and
- Overalls or some kind of rubber protective clothing to stop any of the chemicals coming into contact with their skin. Don't give them normal fabric overalls because the chemicals will soak right through.
 
3. Can the chemicals combust or explode?
 
If your employees work with very volatile chemicals that can combust or explode, give them: 
 
- Fire-proof clothing to protect them if the chemical suddenly combusts. With some volatile chemicals, this can happen even if a drop of water comes in contact with the chemical.
 
Chemicals are extremely dangerous. If you don't give your employees the right safety gear to protect them, they might end up with a fatal injury or illness. So follow this process to make sure they have the protection they need.
 
To find out more about chemical safety, check out the Health and Safety Advisor
 


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