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Friday, January 30, 2015

Mommy, this water tastes funny....

In developing content or finding topics for Talk Clean To Me I often use stories from the field or questions I get via emails, phone calls or at conferences.  However, it seems several of my friends have had real life tragedies associated to HAIs and disinfectant misuse as of late.

As the title states, imagine hearing your young child calling out to you in distress...while on vacation I might add.  The condensed version of this true story is that a water bottle filled with bleach was left on the bathroom counter in my friend's hotel room.  The bottle was the same brand and size as the bottled water they had been buying to drink.  There was no label affixed to the bottle to
identify that it was not water and not fit for consumption.  The child, thinking it was just water, drank some....he's fine (after a trip to the hospital), but the situation was awful and without a doubt this event had left everyone shaken.  They were
lucky. 

The family of George McAfee, a former running back for the Chicago Bears, however, was not so lucky.  McAfee died in 2009 after drinking bleach he found in an unlocked cupboard at the assisted-living facility he resided in. The bleach burned his lips, esophagus and lungs before he died in terrible pain in hospital.

Which brings me to the point of this week's blog. The importance of properly labelling chemicals - any chemical that has been decanted into a secondary bottle.  Labels are a vital component to safe use of chemicals. They are the first alert that there may be hazards associated with using the product and are required by most companies as part of Workplace Safety Legislation. Aside from identifying the product and potential hazards, a label also tells you what precautions to take when using the product or steps that need to be taken in case of an accidental exposure, ingestion, what have you.

In general, a workplace label must include the following information:

1. Product identifier (product name)
2. Information for the safe handling of the product
3. Statement that the SDS is available
4. May contain the WHMIS/GHS hazard symbols or other pictograms.

These are the minimum requirements for workplace labels. Depending
on the country in which your company operates and the markets you serve, there are varying regulations to comply with. Further, employers may wish to put more information on the labels but it is not required under the law.

The long and the short of it is that whether we are in a hospital, a school, a hotel or at home, if you decant a product into another container - LABEL IT!!

Hugs to my friend and her little one!

Bugging Off!

Nicole

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