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Bathroom cleaning products

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Workers are at greater risk when they enter a bathroom just after it has been cleaned from strong odours of ammonia. They are also at risk when chemicals used to clean showers and toilets are not washed off thoroughly.

Tips

  • Use cleaning chemicals for the intended purpose.
  • Follow instructions and handle products with care.
  • Do not use an unlabelled cleaning product.

Potential harm

  • Allergies
  • Poisoning

Identified hazards and controls

Storage and handling

Cause

  • Chemicals stored above head height may spill on the worker when handled or lifted.
  • Chemicals that are not securely contained can produce toxic odours or fumes.
  • Chemicals not stored in their original container and not labelled appropriately can be misused.

What workers can do

  • Be aware that some people can suffer asthma or allergic reactions from certain types of spray cleaners, perfumes and liquids, and consider this when handling these substances.
  • Always read and follow label directions and any other usage instructions.
  • Know who the first aid officer is and how to contact them quickly.

What employers can do

  • Keep the original label on each container.
  • Record details of all substances kept in your workplace.
  • Obtain the safety data sheet (SDS) from the manufacturer for each chemical used in your workplace, including any domestic cleaning products as they may be used differently than normal household use. The SDS provides detailed information on safe use and handling, incompatibilities with other chemicals, risks from use in enclosed areas, and appropriate controls.
  • Provide training, instruction and supervision for the decanting, storage and handling of chemicals.
  • Conduct regular inspections to check that chemical containers are appropriate for storage and accurately labelled.
  • Where possible, substitute hazardous chemicals with less toxic alternatives.

Labelling and identification

Cause

  • Substances kept in containers with incorrect or no labels.

What workers can do

  • Do not use an unlabelled product.
  • Only decant in accordance with safety data sheets and procedures.

What employers can do

  • Record details of all substances kept.
  • Ensure all substances are clearly and correctly marked and labelled.
  • Meet labelling requirements for hazardous chemicals in the workplace under the Globally Harmonised Labelling System (GHS) and Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011. This includes requirements for chemicals stored in bulk.
  • Maintain a file of safety data sheets (SDSs) for all substances used by or stored at the workplace.
  • Maintain strict controls on decanting of substances.
  • Dispose of contents that cannot be identified, in accordance with relevant local waste management requirements.
  • Conduct regular inspections of chemicals.

Spillages

Cause

  • Containers not secured properly.

What workers can do

  • Secure lids properly after use.
  • Do not clean up spills if you are unsure of what the liquid is.
  • Use personal protective equipment (PPE) when required to protect health and safety.
  • Report spills to your employer.
  • Set up clear signage around a large perimeter to let others know there has been a spill.
  • Do not puncture or damage pressure containers.

What employers can do

  • Have a safety data sheet (SDS) for each chemical held on the premises and available to workers.
  • Have personal protective equipment (PPE) specified in the safety data sheet (SDS) available, such as face masks and breathing apparatus.
  • Provide workers with instruction in dealing with substance spills, including the name of contacts to arrange clean up.
  • Warn others to stay clear of spillage site.
  • Keep emergency response plans updated and current.

First aid treatment

Cause

  • Contact with a substance or cleaning product.

What workers can do

  • Follow recommended first aid information provided on the safety data sheet (SDS) where available.
  • Ensure you know how to contact the first aid officer.

What employers can do

  • Check that first aid officers in your workplace are familiar with the types of chemicals in use and the appropriate response to a spill.
  • Provide emergency first aid officers with information on the appropriate treatment of skin, eye and internal organs for the substances used at your workplace.
  • Display first aid and emergency contact number in obvious positions at work.
  • Make safety data sheets (SDSs) readily available.
Page last reviewed: 15 April 2021

Comcare (Office Safety tool)
GPO Box 9905, Canberra, ACT 2601
1300 366 979 | www.comcare.gov.au

Date printed 03 Oct 2022

https://www.comcare.gov.au/office-safety-tool/spaces/bathrooms/bathroom-cleaning-products