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Hazardous Materials and the Work Place

4 Major Types of  Hazardous Materials

1) Corrosive

Hazardous materials that are corrosive can dissolve and eat away at a container. This means that the majority of corrosives are dangerous to the skin and eyes of humans as well as animals. A few commonly found corrosives are rust removers, drain cleaners and metal cleaners. These materials can contain acids like phosphoric, sulfuric and hydrofluoric acid as well as lye or sodium hydroxide.

2) Flammable

If not stored correctly, these types of hazardous materials can be a serious fire hazard. The packaging of flammable items usually read "Do not store near heat".

a) Fuel

Flammable products should always be kept in approved containers and in an outdoor garage or storage shed. The more well ventilated these spaces are the less risk of vapors combusting. Do not store flammables inside the office building. One additional fact to remember is that some fuels expand in warmer temperatures, so do not fill the containers to capacity.

b) Pesticides

Many liquid pesticides also pose a threat for fire. Like fuels, pesticides should be stored out of the building. Always keep only the minimum amount of pesticides needed on hand. Not only does this reduce the risk of fire, but it also saves time and money.  In certain colder temperatures the chemicals in a pesticide can separate, making the substance ineffective.

3) Explosive or Reactive

These types of materials post a threat in multiple ways. If combined with the wrong chemicals or materials, there is risk of combustion or toxic gases.

4) Toxic

Substances that are toxic can, in certain quantities, pose a hazard to a person or animal. Most janitorial closets are full of potentially toxic materials. Cleaners, deodorizers and other every day items can pose a threat when used or disposed of incorrectly. However, when used safely, these items can be very beneficial and necessary.

Store Hazardous Materials Correctly

- Make it a company policy to only buy the minimal amount of product needed at a time.

- Store hazardous materials in their original containers and always make sure labels are in place.
  Reattach if label should begin to peel off.

- Do not store flammable or explosive items in the sun or near a heat source.

- Pressurized cans and containers should not be allowed to remain wet or in a wet space because rust
  can cause the container to leak.

- Designate separate cleaning supplies like rags and brooms for chemical spills and do not use them for
  anything else

- Bags of sand or sawdust are helpful to have present in the storage area to soak up any hazardous

Disposing of Hazardous Materials including Leftover Pesticide Concentrate and Mix

- Never dump these substances on the ground. This can pose a risk of groundwater contamination.

- Placing these materials in the garbage is dangerous because it can harm trash collectors as well as
  the environment.

- The proper way of disposing of hazardous materials is usually outlined on the label. This often includes
  diluting anything leftover and applying it to certain outdoor areas.

-  Restrict purchases of chemicals to the minimum amount so there is none leftover.


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