There are various ways that chemicals can cause a hazard, including burning the skin or eyes on contact, catching fire and burning, becoming explosive through the rapid expansion of gasses and being poisonous. All workers must be taught to follow the correct procedures when working with chemicals.

Before handling a chemical, workers need to carefully read the container label along with the material safety data sheet. This will inform them about the potential hazards and the required safety precautions. Personal protective equipment that is recommended by the label and MSDS should be thoroughly inspected before being worn. The building that the chemical is used in should be checked for adequate ventilation. Any items that could react with the chemical should be removed.

All staff should be aware of the location of fire extinguishers, alarms, first aid kits, eyewash stations, emergency showers and emergency exits. They should also be fully versed in the organizations emergency procedures in the event of a chemical spill or other accidental release. Workers should known the symptoms of exposure and the appropriate first aid response.

When working with chemicals, take your time, and anticipate what might go wrong. Take only the amount of the chemical that is appropriate for the job at hand.