Bleach is an Irritant to the skin, and in some cases it is also classed as a corrosive. Children are more at risk than adults as many are not aware of the risks that bleach poses. Adults usually can recognise the smell of bleach and know to wash their hands after contact where as children are ignorant of the risks.
The main risk is to the user of the chemical, through either damaging the skin, eyes through contact or by mixing it with another chemical which may produce toxic fumes that can cause problems with breathing especially if the person has a pre existing breathing related problem or illness such as Asthma. An example of this would be pouring bleach down the toilet then spraying an acidic cleaner on the toilet walls can produce chlorine gas.
Assessment of risks in the use of chemicals such as bleach whilst at work is required to be completed and the assessment communicated to all employees under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2003. All COSHH risk assessments need to use a Material safety data sheet on the product which contains all the relevant safety information for the safe use of the product. All suppliers or manufacturers have a legal duty to produce and provide these material safety date sheets on request.
If you are sourced with the requirement to complete an assessment of the risk of the exposure on harmful chemicals then the information you should use in the assessment includes:
The safe storage of the chemical
Safe disposal methods
First aid requirements in contact
Personal Protective equipment to be used
The likelihood of contact and its usage
The control measures to safe guard safety in use
Precautionary measures to reduce risk in the contact of harmful chemicals such as bleach include using thinner bleaches to reduce the concentration. The use of safer alternative products which does not contain harmful substances is the best option.
Antibacterial sprays on the market today are more suitable especially in environments where children may come into contact such as schools. These are classed as low hazard and only pose a risk when used excessively sprayed into a room with no ventilation.
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