What to do in the Event of a Chemical Exposure
If you work with hazardous chemicals, it is important to have a precise safety procedure handy in case an accident occurs. Unfortunately, if you do not wear Tyvek® suits or other protective clothing, then an accident is sure to happen. Here are a few safety guidelines for chemical exposures in the stomach, skin, and eyes:
If a Chemical has been Ingested
If you or someone you encounter has accidentally ingested a toxic chemical, your first thought might be to try and get the substance out by vomiting. However, there can be many risks associated with inducing vomiting especially in emergency situations. You might also try to drink milk or water to dilute the chemical ingested, but this also is not recommended unless specifically told by to do so by the Poison Control Centre. In the case of a chemical ingestion, it is wisest to immediately call an emergency line or the Poison Control Centre. They will be able to help guide you step by step to ensure safer results.
Chemicals on Skin or Eyes
The initial step after encountering a toxic chemical on your skin or eyes is to immediately flush it away with water. The faster you rinse the chemical – the better you will prevent permanent damage to your skin or sight. The recommended amount of time suggests 15 or 20 minutes of rinsing. However, it depends on the chemical. Here is a brief time guideline for washing away chemicals based on their toxicity:
- Mild irritants 5 min
- Moderate-Severe Irritants: 15-20 min
- Most Corrosives: 30 min
- Strong Alkalis: 60 min
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Courtesy Of: CCOHS