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Secondary container labeling

The picture above shows how similar and easy it is to accidentally mistake this chemical for a Coke or Pepsi when placed into a drinking container. Perhaps you yourself or someone you know has done this very same action. But the fact is it happens quite often in the workforce, causing severe injury or death. People work with chemicals based on their comfort level, how dangerous or scary something appears to be, or their judgement or feelings based on their experiences rather than the actual risk. One good example of this is Paraquat also known as Gramoxone, or Firestorm. Paraquat is a widely used herbicides - many people view it as common and not dangerous, but it is actually one of the few herbicides with proven human health risks. Since 2000 their have been 17 US deaths (3 of these were children), caused by accidental ingestion, after people put Paraquat in beverage containers. As well as a high number of severe injuries caused by Paraquat getting into the skin or eyes. This is just one example of accidental deaths that could have been avoided if proper labeling or container use was used. Even if the chemical looks nothing like the original contents it should NOT be poured into a beverage container. Drinking containers should NEVER be used for storage or transport of chemicals, and should NEVER contain anything except the intended drink. What can we do to clarify which chemicals are being stored in secondary containers?

  • DO NOT store chemicals in beverage containers.

  • Never Drink out of a beverage container in your work area without smelling it first.

  • Establish a system that makes it easy to label secondary containers.

  • Place the date on the container so you know how old it is before you use it again.

  • Make labeling a habit.

  • Label all sides of the container.

  • Place all hazardous secondary containers out of the reach of children.

  • Only use secondary containers when absolutely necessary and use an appropriate container with visible labeling.

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