In this article we will discuss the concepts of sorting and handling hazardous materials. Due to their properties, chemicals must be well segregated (sorted) to prevent incompatible products from coming into contact with each other.

Quick checklist of basic precautions to protect yourself when handling chemicals: Chemicals pose health and safety and environmental risks at all times.

I.            Always ensure that containers are tight and safe for storage.

II.           Any broken, uncapped or unsafe containers (such as margarine containers) must be secured to prevent spills.

III.          In order to ensure safe handling of chemicals (during segregation), personnel must always wear a tracksuit (e.g., lab coat) or other clothing depending on the type of work to be performed, as well as gloves and safety glasses.

IV.          It is forbidden to eat or drink within a minimum radius of 3 metres from the sorting area.

V.           Smoking is prohibited at all times.

VI.          In addition to wearing gloves, it is advisable to wash your hands before eating after handling chemicals.


Corrosive products destroy, gnaw and burn materials, such as metal, as well as skin. The main risks associated with these products are irritation and burns to skin and eyes in case of direct contact. The respiratory tract may also be irritated by vapours.

Corrosive act on human cells through the following reactions: protein hydrolysis, saponification of fats (dissolution of skin fat), nitration, oxidation and disturbance of the osmotic balance (interruption of “skin breathing”).

Strong or concentrated bases are much more dangerous to the eye than acids. Bases penetrate rapidly into the eye causing irreparable damage within seconds. It is therefore necessary to wash with plenty of water very quickly (at least 15 minutes in tempered water), sometimes longer if possible.

Corrosive chemicals include acids, bases, oxidizers (e.g. peroxide), batteries and motor vehicles.

Ensure that adequate risk management measures are adopted and applied, especially in the production, storage and use of toxic or hazardous substances.

It is strongly recommended that you have all the necessary information on the properties and quantity of the substance:

               places of use and

               surrounding factors

               that may increase the risks.

               Possible consequences of an emergency


The use and/or handling of chemicals may involve certain risks. Personnel using or handling chemicals must wear the following protective equipment:

(a) a safety helmet;

(b) safety glasses with side shields at all times;

(c) a visor and goggles (“googles”) during pumping or transfer operations;

d) a PVC suit, depending on the product;

(e) PVC gloves;

(f) respiratory protection according to the nature of the product.

Ensure that the product used or handled is properly identified (WHMIS). Please note that each virgin chemical product classified under WHMIS indicates exactly which Personal Protective Equipment you must use.


I.            Before lifting a twenty (20) litre container, ensure that the weight of the container and the strength of the handle are estimated.

II.           Bend your knees if necessary, do not force your back when lifting a twenty (20) litre container.

III.          Check the general condition of the container to avoid any cuts/scrapes.

IV.          Wear protective gloves suitable for the chemicals being handled.

V.           Empty the contents (once identified) under a safety hood. Transfer (bulk filling) is carried out in a barrel or tote tanks clearly identified for this purpose.

Wearing anti-scratch gloves is recommended.   


I.            Properly identify the barrel by checking the following points:

– Entry number.

– Generator.

– Contents.

– TDG class (UN number).

II.           Store the barrel in an appropriate section.

III.          For overhead storage, use the technique of wrapping with polythene straps or sheets around two (2) or four (4) barrels.

IV.          Check the condition of the pallet.

V.           Do not use a pallet if it is too damaged, or if nails tend to stick out of the wood.

VI.          Always open the small cap, if there is one, before opening the larger one when sampling.

VII.         Wear personal protective equipment (PPE): gloves, masks, visors, goggles, as appropriate.

VIII.       Ground when pumping or transferring.

IX.          Avoid any accumulation or vapor of solvents to avoid explosion.

Any good manager will know how to take absorbent products in case of a spill, an accident can happen so quickly. Sylprotec has a wide range of absorbent products in the form of socks, sheets, dams, and sets with approved containers for transporting recovered materials. You will be able to equip by going to their store in Saint-Leonard or place your order online on their website.

Sylvain Patrice f.p.t

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