Whether you work with millilitres or litres, liquids should always be handled with care and can present a range of hazards if they are handled badly.
There are a few key aspects that should be considered when manipulating or pouring liquids – we’ve explored the main risks and what controls can be put in place to make your work safer.
Which liquids present hazards?
In a word – any!
Each and every liquid you work with has the potential to be hazardous at certain volumes, temperatures, when mixed with incompatible substances or simply by causing a slip.
A good first step in assessing the risks of working with different liquids is to list all the liquids you use. Remember to consider all stages of the task, from setting up, to normal use and not forgetting cleaning and maintenance.
What hazards could be present?
Different facets of the work should be considered to determine which hazards are present, so look carefully at the task and how it is done to compile your own list.
Broadly speaking, hazards may be caused by;
- e.g. scalds and burns
- vapours coming off a liquid
- boiling and splashing
- e.g. corrosive or irritant chemicals
- volatile chemicals giving off vapours or fumes
- reactions between incompatible chemicals (which could generate heat or hazardous by-products)
- flammable or oxidising liquids coming into contact with sparks, fuels or other fire risks.
- e.g. spilt liquids on floors causing people to slip
- liquid on surfaces making items slide off
- e.g. manual handling of large containers causing injury
How can pumps reduce risks when working with chemicals?
The hierarchy of controls should always be used when putting measures in place to reduce risks – eliminating unecessary tasks or chemicals that present hazards, or substituting less hazardous chemicals in are always the best options.
Where this cannot be done, liquid pumps are a simple way to help reduce the risks associated with chemical work.
- Remove the need for manual handling
- Large containers such as barrels or drums should have a pump to avoid any manual handling
- Medium sized containers which can just be manually lifted often present the biggest risk as people will try to manually move them – this is easily avoided with a pump that fills off the liquid into a smaller container
- Some pumps even offer electrical power to eliminate manual work
- Reduce the risk of vapours and fumes
- Reduce the risk of spills
- No manual pouring means no accidental spills
They can even help to improve workflow in ways not related to safety;
- Reduce waste
- Easily dispense only the amount needed, rather than estimating by eye and then having waste
- Speed up work
- The ease of pressing a button or lever to dispense liquid out is faster than manual handling and pouring
Remember that you may also need suitable PPE such as gloves or goggles in addition to a pump – a full risk assessment will help you determine what is required.
How can you choose a suitable liquid pump?
Choosing the right pump is based on;
- The type of container
- What physical size and volume is the container?
- What kind of screwthread or joint does it have to connect to a pump?
- What container are you filling into?
- The amount you need to dispense
- What volume will be dispensed?
- How often are you dispensing?
- The type of liquid
- What is it’s viscosity? (How thick is it?)
- Is it flammable, corrosive or any other hazard?
There are a huge range of pumps available to suit all types of task, liquid and working environment.
To find out more, follow the links above or contact us to discuss how liquid pumps can make your work safer and faster;