Safety Risks of Working with BleachMay 20, 2019
Bleach is a common household cleaning solution that is effective at killing harmful bacteria, fungi, and viruses. It is also used as a laundry solution to whiten fabrics and other items. However, when used improperly, or when mixing it with certain chemicals or cleaners, it can cause a range of safety hazards, including skin and eye irritation, lung damage, and even death. Employees who work with bleach must understand the risks and take the appropriate safety precautions to avoid injuries or other health risks.
When used undiluted, bleach can be corrosive, particularly at high concentrations. As a result, it can irritate the skin and the eyes if workers do not dilute it properly. When bleach is mixed with other products, such as ammonia, toilet bowl cleaners, rust removers, and acids, it produces toxic gases that can cause serious lung damage. In extreme cases, exposure to theses toxic gases can be fatal.
Safety Tips to Follow When Using Bleach
Workers who use bleach on a regular basis are encouraged to keep the following tips in mind:
- When possible, use a product that this less hazardous than bleach.
- Only use bleach as a disinfectant to kill bacteria, fungus, or viruses. Bleach should not be used to clean dirty surfaces.
- Make sure that the bleach is properly diluted. Never pour water into bleach. Bleach should always be poured into water.
- When using bleach, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, which will be on the product label or Safety Data Sheet (SDS).
- Never mix bleach with products that will cause toxic fumes, such as ammonia and other acids.
- The work area should be well-ventilated when working with bleach. Make sure to open windows and wear respirators when necessary.
- Workers should wear goggles, gloves, and/or face shields to protect the eyes, hands, and face. Make sure that the gloves are approved for use with bleach.
- In addition to the safety gear, workers should wear long sleeves, pants, socks, and close-toed shoes, as well as protective aprons or suits for additional protection.
- Employers should train workers on how to use and store the product, as well as what to do if there is an emergency. Workers should know how to use emergency spill kits and emergency eye wash/shower kits.
- Bleach should be properly stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
- Bleach should not be stored or used near metals.
- Never eat or drink when using bleach, and wash hands thoroughly after use.
Follow these instructions if you are exposed to bleach:
- If bleach splashes into the eyes, rinse with water for 15 to 20 minutes, then call a poison control center, emergency services, or a doctor.
- If inhaled, go outside and get fresh air. If breathing becomes difficult, call poison control, emergency services, or a doctor.
- If skin is exposed to bleach, remove contaminated clothing and rinse skin with water for up to 20 minutes.
- If swallowed, seek immediate medical attention from poison control or a health care provider.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Help Workers Injured in Bleach-Related Accidents
If you suffered a bleach-related injury while on the job, contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will protect your rights and secure the maximum financial benefits you deserve, including medical expenses, lost wages, and any other costs associated with your injury. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online. Located in Baltimore, we serve clients throughout Maryland.