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Working with hazardous chemicals safely

Chemicals are found all over the jobsite and some of them are more hazardous than others. Container labels and safety data sheets will give you information about the hazards of materials you work with.

Direct contact or exposure to some of the hazardous chemicals that are commonly used in construction workplaces such as acids, glues, paint, solvents and petroleum products can lead to a variety of serious health effects. Inhalation (breathing in), skin contact (splashed onto the skin or eyes), or ingestion (swallowing) of a hazardous chemical can result in poisoning, chemical burns, skin rashes (dermatitis) and disorders of the lung, kidney and liver. 

Knowing how to use, manage, transport and store chemicals is important to keep you, your workplace and even your surrounding community safe.

What do you need to know?

  • Where possible, perform the task without using hazardous chemicals
  • Substitute hazardous chemicals with less hazardous alternatives (for example, use a detergent in place of a chlorinated solvent for cleaning)
  • Isolate and store hazardous chemicals in separate storage areas
  • Only use properly identified chemicals products that you know what they are and that are appropriately labelled 
  • Refer to the register of hazardous chemicals, safety data sheet, SWMS or other information about handling and working with the product safely
  • Use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as respirators, gloves and goggles
  • Always wash and clean your hands thoroughly after using any chemical or substance and never eat, drink, or smoke when using any product.
  • If you haven’t received adequate explanation, guidance, direction or training in the hazardous chemical you’re required to use, don’t use it – always raise this with your supervisor or HIA Field Officer immediately.

To help keep your worksite safe, contact HIA's Safety Services team.

Enquire now

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