Most hospitals and medical practices have made the move away from antibacterial hand soaps towards antibacterial alcohol washes such as “Avagard” and 70% alcohol surface sprays which are Class Three Flammable liquids and as such are both a highly flammable liquid and can give off a flammable vapour and although the risks when used individually are low when placed in storage the risks increase. Because of this these medical practices have a duty of care to both staff and patients to identify possible hazards and reduce the risks posed.
One important way to manage and reduce the risks posed with the storage of these flammable liquids is to ensure that there is correct hazard communication present. Hazard communication allows all staff to easily obtain the required information regarding the correct storage, handling and disposal (Safe Work Australia, 2015a, 2015c).
In the case of the ‘Avagard’ and ‘70% alcohol surface spray’ pictured below in Figures One, Two and Three, the manufacturers have implemented simple hazard communication methods on the bottles by ensuring that both written warnings and pictograms are present and clearly visible on each individual item.
These products come in box form which contain several of these products and come with a Safety Data Sheet on each box which outlines the safety precautions required for both usage and storage.
Several important things to know about the storage of these products are:
- To ensure that your workplace keeps only the lowest practicable quantity of these products;
- To ensure that storage areas are cool and well ventilated rooms away from direct sunlight and ignition sources;
- To ensure that correct Safety Data Sheets and Material Safety Data Sheets are visible and up to date;
- To ensure that pictograms and warnings are present and visible on all bottles when used (Safe Work Australia, 2015b).
Safe Work Australia. (2015a). Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) Retrieved 18/08/2015, from http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/whs-information/hazardous-chemicals/ghs/pages/ghs
Safe Work Australia. (2015b). Storage of flammable or combustible substance Retrieved 18/08/2015, from http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/whs-information/hazardous-chemicals/storage-flammable-combustible/pages/storage-flammable-combustible-substance
safe Work Australia. (2015c). Work Health and Safety Regulations: Classification and labelling for workplace hazardous chemicals Retrieved 18/08/2015, from http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/about/publications/Documents/679/Classification_and_labelling_workplace_hazardous_chemicals_poster%20-A4.pdf