Aerosol spray paint cans make life easier. They speed up painting jobs, offer a smooth finish without brush or roller marks and enable painting in hard-to-reach places. But, aerosol cans are also hazardous. Both the product and the propellant are usually flammable.
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The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) tracks structural fires caused by hot work. A 2016 report revealed that from 2010 to 2014, hot work caused an average of 4,440 structural fires each year. These resulted in property damage of $287 million and approximately 12 fatalities annually.
When splashed with hazardous chemicals, the longest it should take anyone to reach an emergency shower and eyewash station is 10 seconds. That’s hardly any time - about as long as it takes to turn on the tap and fill a glass with water or tie your shoes.
Mixing incompatible materials together can result in explosions, fires and severe injuries. An article in Lab Manager Magazine reports that improper storage of chemicals accounts for 25 percent of all chemical accidents in labs. The article describes the following examples of two serious lab incidents, both involving nitric acid:
Flammable storage cabinets arrive at a site on pallets, often carried by forklift to their station. Keeping the flammable safety cabinet on a pallet may seem convenient. It makes it easier to move. It might also seem like a good idea to keep it elevated off the floor, so that any leak or chemical spill will be visible.
Many chemicals used in everyday life are flammable or hazardous to humans. Cleaning materials contain ignitable solvents. Pool chemicals contain acids that cause chemical burns. Labor laws (OSHA) and fire codes (NFPA) regulate chemical storage in commercial buildings and industries.
Different types of paint have different storage requirements. Solvent-based paints contain flammable materials and have stricter storage requirements. Water-based paints are less hazardous and have fewer restrictions. It is important to know what kind of paint you are storing and relevant OSHA and NFPA requirements.
Everyone appreciates manicured lawns, beautiful gardens and the smell of fresh cut grass in the summer. Not everyone has the time to devote to yard maintenance. Landscaping and lawn care companies provide this valuable service. They use fuel-powered equipment like lawnmowers, chain saws and blowers daily. But working with gasoline comes with risks of fire and explosion.
No workplaces or industries are void of danger. Despite safety measures, exposure to potential workplace hazards such as chemical splash, welding sparks, metal shavings or fine particulates can occur. Receiving immediate and proper treatment in the first 10 seconds following exposure can be key to minimizing serious injury. Emergency shower and eyewash stations help protect workers when an incident occurs.
Ever wondered if you can just throw an aerosol can in the trash? The answer is complicated. It’s not the can, but the contents of the can that may cause issues. Many cans used in the workplace contain hazardous materials. Either the product, or the propellant used to spray the product is harmful to the environment. Aerosol disposal must be handled carefully.