Working Safely With Solvents

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) has published a hazard alert and an infographic addressing the importance of safety when working with and around solvents.

Solvents are chemicals used to thin or dissolve paint, grease, epoxies, adhesive and coatings. Exposure to skin can cause dryness and cracking. If swallowed or inhaled, solvents can irritate or burn the nose, mouth, throat, lungs, stomach and intestine. Long-term exposure can damage the nervous system, reproductive system, kidneys and respiratory system, as well as cause cancer.

The center notes that under OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (1910.1200), employers are required to educate workers about potential chemical exposure hazards, provide Safety Data Sheets and label products.

Additionally, employers must provide and maintain personal protective equipment, such as gloves, respirators and eye protection. When working in confined spaces, proper ventilation is particularly important CPWR adds. Workers who come into contact with solvents should wash their skin immediately.

 Article published by the National Safety Council