June is National Safety Month! While the main focus is workplace safety, a lot of the information and safety tips also applies to your home and wherever else you may be. The Maryland Poison Center (MPC) on average receives about 200 cases occurring in a workplace each year. This is only a small percentage of our total cases because people don’t think to call us when they have a workplace exposure. Most workplace exposures are in the eye, on the skin, or inhaled. Swallowed poison exposures are less common in the workplace. Let’s take a look at some important safety tips for the workplace.
In workplaces, people often use industrial-strength cleaning products. These products are often more concentrated than those you would use at home. It is important to read the label directions and follow them closely when using these products. If instructed, wear personal protective gear such as gloves or eyeglasses when using these products.
We often hear from callers at home who have taken cleaning products from their workplace to their home in a beverage container. This is dangerous as it can be easily mistaken for a regular beverage. If you bring home a cleaning product from the workplace, make sure it is clearly labeled and stored up, away, and out of sight from children.
Before using a chemical at work, read the label and follow the directions exactly as stated. Follow safety precautions as instructed on the label and by your workplace. Wearing personal protective equipment such as glasses, gloves, and long sleeves is also important.
Check the label in the warning section on any medicines you may take to see if there are any warnings about operating heavy machinery or the potential for dizziness. Talk to your health care provider before taking a medicine to make sure it is safe to use while working.
Always read the entire label for directions on how much to take and when to take it. It is important to follow the label directions exactly as stated to avoid having any side effects.
First Aid for Poisoning
The most important thing to have in your first aid kit is the number for the poison center. Program the number – 1-800-222-1222 – into your phone contacts. Also post it somewhere visible using one of our magnets or stickers.
It is important to perform the following first aid, then call the MPC for more information. When calling, have the product with you so that the specialist can give you information for the specific product you used.
Remove any contaminated clothing or jewelry. Rinse the skin with lukewarm, not hot, water for 10 minutes. Then call the MPC for more help.
Flush the eye with lukewarm, not hot, water for 15 minutes. Blink the eye as much as possible, but do not force the eyelid open. After flushing the eye, call the MPC for more help.
Gently wipe out the mouth and drink a small amount of water. Do not make a person vomit by putting a finger in their throat or giving them any kind of home remedy. Call the MPC as soon as you think weed killer has been swallowed. Do not wait for symptoms to call.
As always, the MPC is available 24/7/365. Call 1-800-222-1222 to speak with a poison expert. Calling is always free and confidential.