Retail employees frequently use cleaning chemicals to ensure cleanliness of stores. Workers who handle these products include building maintenance staff, janitors, clerks and stockers. Depending on the chemical components, some cleaning products can be hazardous.
Exposure can lead to skin rashes, burns and respiratory issues. In addition to providing the gentlest cleaning products available, supervisors can share the following information with employees to promote safe chemical use.
Hazards of Cleaning Chemicals
When a worker is determining if a chemical is hazardous, the following factors must be considered:
- Chemical ingredients in the product
- The product container and how the product is used (sprayed, poured, etc.)
- Where and how the product is stored
- Ventilation in the area where the cleaning product is used
- Whether there might be splashes or spills
- If the product comes into contact with skin
- Whether mists, vapours and/or gases are released
Make sure to discuss the following tips with workers during training:
- Never mix different cleaning chemicals together. This can cause dangerous gases to be formed and released.
- Wear proper PPE to avoid chemicals contacting skin, eyes or being inhaled.
- Store chemicals in their original containers; never pour into an unlabeled container.
- Store chemicals away from HVAC intake vents to prevent fumes from spreading throughout the building.
- Read the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) when using a new chemical. Make sure to look for ways to respond should the chemical spill or come into contact with skin.
- Dispose of cleaning products properly. Follow the instructions on the label. Keep empty bottles and containers away from customers, especially children.
- Never pour cleaning products down a sink drain or toilet to dispose of them.
- Be extra cautious when cleaning a food preparation area. Use only designated chemicals.
- Clean up after cleaning – always wash hands after using cleaning products, especially before eating, drinking or smoking.
For more information about where your business may be most vulnerable to certain liabilities, contact us to speak with one of our experienced brokers today.
Looking for additional ways to help keep your employees safe? Download our free Retail & Wholesale Employee Safety Manual for policies and procedures that support a safety-conscious work environment.