Some people work with chemicals for a living. As you are probably aware, working with chemicals can be very dangerous. Strict safety protocols are introduced by manufacturers and handling companies so as to protect staff. Were it not for these regulations, employees would be hurt or even killed on an almost daily basis.
One of the most important safety measures in place is the mandatory use of medical-grade gloves. No matter what line of work a person is in, if they handle chemicals then they will be instructed by their employers to wear such gloves.
This post will tell you why these gloves are important (and how they help).
The most obvious reason why it’s important to wear gloves when you are handling dangerous chemicals is for your own safety. The team behind Only Nitrile Gloves says that gloves are an effective way of protecting oneself from direct exposure to chemicals. You do need to ensure you are wearing thick gloves, however. This is so that they do not get torn or ripped. Even slight exposure to chemicals can be extremely dangerous.
Wearing gloves when you’re handling chemicals can be a good habit to get into. It’s not uncommon for people to accidentally handle chemicals without wearing gloves, then to realize and panic. When you make a habit out of glove-wearing, every single time you have to handle chemicals you’ll instinctively put a pair on. The dangers of handling hazardous substances when your hands aren’t protected are myriad. Even if you do not sustain chemical burns, your exposure could discolor your skin or even cause an infection.
The problem with chemicals is that they tend to be absorbed by the skin rapidly. After exposure, they cause immediate damage. This means that even if you wash your hands there is no guarantee that you will be able to reverse the consequences of a chemical burn. However, while you cannot reverse chemical burns, you can prevent them altogether. As the old adage goes, prevention is better than cure. By wearing gloves whenever you’re handling chemicals you will never have to worry about direct exposure. Most experts recommend wearing two pairs of gloves, as an extra pair gives you an added layer of protection.
While it is definitely true that the mildest chemical burns heal quite quickly, there are long-term risks you need to think about. Exposure to chemicals can cause cancer of the esophagus, stomach, or skin. It can also cause scarring and in extreme cases, birth defects. If your skin has been exposed to chemicals then there’s a good chance that your lungs are too. It’s also important to wear masks, to protect them from chemical fumes. Inhaling the fumes released from vats of chemicals can actually cause internal burns. These burns, if serious, can cause death.
When you make a habit of wearing gloves, your behavior will influence the behavior of the people around you. In workplaces where chemicals are regularly used and handled, not wearing gloves can be very dangerous. It is dangerous for the individuals and for the company that they work for. Regulatory bodies regularly fine companies whose employees do not follow industry safety regulations. Additionally, if an employee is not wearing gloves at work and is injured by chemicals, they could in theory take legal action against their employer and claim compensation back from them. Such an event could be disastrous to your company’s finances, especially if it is uninsured.
A lot of people seem to think that they only need to wear gloves when the chemicals they are handling are exposed, i.e., the lid of the container they are in is off. This is not true, however. You need to wear gloves whenever you’re handling anything with chemicals in, sealed or not. Accidental container leaks do happen from time to time. If you are handling a container with chemicals in it and aren’t wearing gloves, then you could get severe burns if you drop it or if chemicals spill over the top or through a hole in the side.
Different companies handle different chemicals. Corrosive and toxic chemicals are normal in industrial work. However, if you work in a field of science, then you may handle infectious agents. In such settings, nitrile gloves will usually not suffice. It’s essential to wear much more protective gloves when you are handling chemicals that can cause disease and illness. Most employees who work in these kinds of laboratories are required to wear hazmat suits. Then, they are sprayed down with cleaning solutions before leaving the lab. Exposure to infectious agents can cause viral outbreaks and even pandemics.
The wearing of gloves is mandated by law in some places. If in the country where you live your industry’s regulatory body requires all employees handling chemicals to wear gloves, then not wearing them could get you and your business into a lot of trouble. If caught, your business could receive a fine. However, sometimes legal action is taken against companies and they are forced to close for good. If your employees are hurt because they did not wear protective equipment, then as mentioned earlier, they could take legal action against you. In theory, they could take action against you even if their injuries were entirely their fault.
Finally, it is essential that every single employee wears protective equipment for the safety of everybody else. If one person injures themselves because of chemicals, there is a chance that they could then drop the container they are holding. If they drop the container they are holding chemicals could spill elsewhere. This could then lead to other people getting hurt by them. If multiple people are hurt due to chemical exposure in your company, you could be forced to close by your industry regulators, and will most definitely receive bad press in the media.
The safest way to handle chemicals is with gloves. Sadly, some people handle them without any form of hand protection, which can result in serious injuries. If you are in charge of a company that handles chemicals, then take this article’s advice and ensure every employee wears gloves at all times.