What Are The Safety Protocols For Using Cleaning Chemicals?

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Cleaning products can be potentially hazardous. That is why you should follow safety protocols if you work in the cleaning industry. So, what are the safety protocols for using cleaning chemicals?

Learn about the adverse health effects of cleaning chemicals, green cleaning chemicals, and cleaning chemical safety programs. This article also discusses employer obligations on cleaning safety protocols, safety tips in the cleaning industry, and how cleaning companies can help with chemical safety and cleaning.

Adverse Health Effects of Cleaning Chemicals

Cleaning chemicals can release mists, vapors, and gasses. This can irritate the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. If you're exposed to cleaning chemicals or you come in contact with them, it can result in the following:

  • Red, or itchy, eyes
  • Shortness of breath
  • Asthma
  • Nosebleeds
  • Sore throat
  • Skin rashes
  • Headaches or dizziness

Examples of Cleaning Chemicals

Cleaning products with chemicals can include the following:

  • Hand soaps
  • Surface disinfectants
  • Hand sanitizers
  • Touch-free dispensers
  • Odor eliminators
  • Microfibre

Chemical Safety Protocols When Using Bleach

While bleach is excellent at keeping spaces clean, it can pose a serious danger if the right precautions are not taken. After all, bleach is prominent in the list of hazardous substances. The safety protocols when using bleach include the following:

  • Stick to the recommended amount when using bleach.
  • Avoid mixing bleach with other cleaning products, such as ammonia.
  • Wear gloves to protect your hands while working with bleach.
  • When using bleach, remember to keep the area well-ventilated.
  • Immediately call for help if you feel any illness symptoms when using bleach.

Personal Protection When Working With Cleaning Products

It would be best to protect yourself when working with cleaning products. For instance, you must adhere to the cleaning instructions when using cleaning products. Likewise, you should check the label and the Safety Data Sheets (SDS) document of the cleaning product for safety instructions.

Typically, these safety instructions include using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as safety goggles, respirators, masks, and gloves.

How Safe are Green Cleaning Chemicals?

One appeal of green cleaning chemicals is their relatively safe use. However, you still need to use green cleaning products properly. Like conventional cleaning chemicals, accidents can occur if green cleaning chemicals are not properly handled.

This is why the authorities in the cleaning industry encourage you to develop and use a cleaning chemical safety program. Note that a chemical in your cleaning business that is tagged "green" does not necessarily imply that it is safe to come in contact with. The green version tends to have a slightly lower amount of hazardous substances than standard versions.

Cleaning Chemical Safety Programs

You can implement a cleaning chemical safety program as a safety protocol. This can include removing chemical products not used for six months or more.

Typically, a cleaning chemical safety program has the following basic components:

  • A full list of cleaning chemicals in the facility, including quantity, storage location, potential hazards, and precaution measures.
  • A practice of retaining cleaning chemicals in original containers and never mixing them.
  • Placing clear safety signs that follow OSHA's standards and requirements.
  • Educating cleaning workers about the meaning of "signal words" such as caution, warning, and danger.

Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

The Safety Data Sheet (SDS) contains important information on the safety of cleaning products. SDS for cleaning products usually includes the following:

  • Hazardous chemical materials.
  • Symptoms and health problems that are associated with the chemical materials.
  • First-aid measures to implement upon exposure.
  • Required protection equipment such as respirators, masks, and gloves.
  • Steps to take to clean up spills.

How to Handle Industrial Cleaning Chemicals

Industrial and commercial cleaning chemicals pose more serious health risks and safety hazards. This is because they are specially designed to deal with tougher cleaning jobs that typical cleaning products cannot handle. You can implement the following safety tips when handling industrial cleaning products.

Easily accessible safety data sheets (SDS)

Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are documents that come with cleaning chemicals. These documents specify the ingredients, hazards, safe handling, first aid measures, and disposal information. Requesting the SDS of specific chemical products from cleaning suppliers is wise.

Follow personal protective equipment (PPE) specifications

Examples of Personal Protection Equipment include masks and gloves. It would be best if you used them to avoid chemical burns and reduce the risks of exposure. In addition, you have to make sure they are well-stocked.

Provide adequate ventilation

All cleaning staff and those who handle commercial and industrial cleaning chemicals should work in a well-ventilated area. You have to turn on kitchen and bathroom fans. This is even more important when performing thorough cleans with specific chemicals.

Train all cleaning staff on safety protocols and guidelines

You can enshrine rules and guidelines for storing and using cleaning products in employee training. Likewise, you can conduct regular risk assessments.

General Safety Tips in the Cleaning Industry

  • Washing your hands after using cleaning chemicals may sound old. However, it would be best to do it even after wearing gloves.
  • The dangers of mixing cleaning chemicals are all too real. For example, mixing ammonia and bleach can release lethal gasses.
  • Likewise, it would be best not to mix bleach with vinegar or hydrogen peroxide.
  • You should use and store cleaning chemicals in your facility safely.

Employer Obligations on Cleaning Safety Protocols

The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) specifies how to protect employees exposed to hazardous chemicals.

  • OSHA's standard identifies employers as responsible for providing required personal protective equipment.
  • Employees who use or are exposed to cleaning chemicals must first be trained on the hazards of cleaning chemicals.
  • In addition, such employees need to be trained on using, cleaning, and storing cleaning chemicals safely.
  • Your employees should be trained on procedures for managing spills or other emergencies.
  • Likewise, you should train them to use hazard information on safety data sheets and labels.
  • You should enforce the use of protective equipment such as safety goggles and gloves.

Cleaning equipment and safe cleaning

As an employer, it is also your responsibility to be updated on safe cleaning practices. In other words, you should be prepared to use modern cleaning equipment to minimize the use of cleaning chemicals.

Specifically, you can decide to implement the following:

  • Place walk-off mats near entryways to prevent the tracking of dirt into buildings.
  • Start using high-filtration HEPA vacuums.
  • Make use of cleaning equipment such as microfiber mops and dusters.

Good Practices for Floor Care

Of course, proper floor care goes beyond dust mopping. You have to make use of cleaners, sanitizers, and disinfectants.

  • Cleaners help remove dirt as you wipe, scrub, and mop your floors.
  • Sanitizers have chemicals that help you reduce the effects of microorganisms on surfaces. This includes bacteria, viruses, and molds.
  • Disinfectants are used as infection control in hospitals and healthcare facilities. They contain chemicals that effectively destroy microorganisms.

You should use the least hazardous cleaning chemical that can help you clean, sanitize, or disinfect your floors.

Cleaning Companies Can Help With Safe Cleaning

After reviewing this guide, you now know more about cleaning chemicals' safety protocols. It is important to follow safety guidelines and precautions for using, storing, and disposing of cleaning chemicals.

Overall, hiring a cleaning company is advisable to do your cleaning for you. It is for more than just aesthetic reasons or good customer relations. Rather, you will be ensuring a safe and efficient cleaning job.

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