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11 steps to safer chemical handling

Chemical handlers in New Jersey face a wide range of risks, but these could be reduced or avoided if they consider the following 11 safety rules. Employers will want to incorporate them as they are general enough to apply to any workplace where hazardous chemicals are present.

The first rule may be the most important: Workers should perform their duties as they were trained to do. Second, they should wash their hands with soap and water after handling materials and clean all work surfaces so as to prevent contamination. Workers will also fare better if they are trained to think ahead to any potential hazards. Eating and drinking while handling materials should be forbidden.

Fifth, employers must provide personal protective equipment, replacing any equipment that's damaged or worn out. They will want procedures in place for dealing with fires, spills and other emergencies; employees should know what to do when others are injured, how to perform evacuations and how to report an incident.

Materials are to be stored in undamaged containers and have a legible label. This label, together with the material safety data sheet, must be referred to before workers use a material. These also help workers identify hazards. Materials are to be used for their intended purpose and stored in dry, cool, ventilated areas.

Instituting these rules will not prevent all accidents as some will arise due to workers' negligence. Victims can still file for benefits under workers' compensation law regardless of who was to blame, but they will need to show that the injuries they report are all related to the accident. If it's in doubt that the accident is work-related, this must be cleared up as well. With a lawyer, the filing process might become less complicated.

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Law Office of Jack L. Stillman, P.A.
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Manalapan, NJ 07726

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