During your normal job duties, you might sometimes be exposed to benzene, a clear, colorless liquid that’s used as a solvent and in the manufacturing of plastics, resins, dyes and pesticides.
Because benzene is known to cause cancer, it’s best to exercise extreme caution when handling this toxic substance.
Here are three things to keep in mind in order to stay safe when using benzene.
1. Wear safety gear. Because it’s critically important that your skin doesn’t contact benzene, put on protective clothing such as gloves, a chemical suit, footwear and headgear that can’t be penetrated by the chemical. Also wear indirect-vent goggles in case of a splash. If you could be exposed to high levels of benzene, wear a full-facepiece respirator.
2. Wash up at the end of your shift. If you’ve been handling benzene during the workday, wash your hands at the end of your shift. If your clothing becomes contaminated, change into clean clothes before you go home.
3. Don’t eat, smoke, or drink. Avoid eating, smoking, or drinking in areas where benzene is being handled.
(From the Sept. 19, 2022, issue of Safety Alert for Supervisors. To start your no-obligation trial subscription to the publication right now, please click here.)