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Solving Solvents

Over the course of your career, you may work with a variety of solvents. You might use them for anything from cleaning contacts to touching up enclosures. Sometimes, the safety rules for a particular solvent can be surprising.

A small electrical firm won the bid to upgrade the exterior electrical work on a multi-family residential unit. The contract called for restaining certain boards. The estimator counted twenty four of these boards and figured it would take an electrical helper half an hour. Unfortunately, the estimator didn’t read the Material Data Sheet (MDS). Neither did the helper, who had to stop work after less than five minutes because he couldn’t stop coughing.

The solvent in the stain required using a carbon filter respirator. It also required wearing gloves and a paper suit (no exposed skin). Another worker had to make a special trip to the site with the appropriate equipment. Total job time was four hours, plus the wasted driving time.

Always read the MDS on any paints, stains, solvents, or similar chemicals when planning the job. Understand the MDS and obtain any necessary PPE, spill cleanup, and disposal materials before using those chemicals. Follow the recommended ventilation procedure and any other safety cautions.

If solvents or other chemicals are left over when the work is done, dispose of them per the MDS or store them in permanently marked containers.

Source: Mark Lamendola | Mindconnection