Some chemicals are hazardous and may be flammable, toxic, corrosive or carcinogenic. The most common risks are through contact with the skin or eyes, breathing in or swallowing.

Many cleaning chemicals are hazardous because they are corrosive and can cause burns or rashes from allergy or irritation from direct skin contact. Volatile chemicals such as solvents can be inhaled. Chemical spills and splashes may harm the eyes.

High concentrations of vapor or gas can accumulate particularly in poorly ventilated and confined areas. It is therefore important that employees who work with chemicals are aware of the hazards.

Chemicals are used mainly for cleaning in hotels. Persons at risk include housekeepers, stewards, laundry workers and engineering or maintenance personnel.


  1. Make sure every chemical has a Material Safety Data Sheet and all containers are properly labeled.
  2. Always follow instructions and information in the use of cleaning chemicals.
  3. When handling substances, especially concentrates (if unavoidable), always wear PPE, e.g. rubber gloves. If there is any danger of splashing, wear eye protection suitable for splash risks, e.g. goggles or visors.
  4. Ensure that rubber gloves are free from holes, tears or thin patches. If any of these faults are present ask for replacements immediately.
  5. If cleaning chemicals are accidentally splashed onto your skin or eyes, flush the infected area with running water. Seek medical advice if irritation persists and tell your employer.
  6. Never mix cleaning chemicals.

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