25 May 2005
Handling Caustic Soda (Sodium Hydroxide). Caustic soda is a strong
alkali that can cause severe burns when contacted in either the liquid or solid form. If
caustic soda does contact the eyes, skin, or clothing, immediately flush the affected
area with water for at least 15 minutes. When water is added to caustic soda, a great
deal of heat may be generated, which can cause the solution to splatter or boil. If
inhaled, the dust or mist from dry caustic soda may cause injury to the upper respiratory
tract. When handling caustic soda, wear close-fitting, OSHA-approved industrial
goggles, rubber aprons and gloves, and coveralls that fit snugly at the neck and wrist.
Handling Other Chemicals. Many of the other chemicals used in water
treatment, including amines, soda ash, lime, sodium aluminate, sulfite, biocides, and
algaecides may cause some irritation on contact with the skin. Handle all chemicals with
caution, following the manufacturer's recommendations. For any contact of a chemical
with skin, flush the skin immediately with water. Review the MSDS that are available for
the chemicals being handled for any special precautions that you should be take.
Biocides and algaecides are toxic, and you should handle them only when observing
Chemical Spill Kits. Each area where acids, caustic soda, or other
hazardous materials are used or stored can be equipped with appropriate chemical spill
kits. Kits for cleaning up acids, bases, and solvents are commercially available.
First Aid Information. First aid information concerning a given chemical
is listed on the MSDS for that chemical.
Eyewash Fountain. An eyewash fountain or a ready source of running
tap water (a bubbler drinking fountain or hose with a soft flow of water) should be made
readily available to wash out or flush the eyes. If even minute quantities of acid or
caustic soda enter the eyes, immediately flush the eyes with large amounts of water for
at least 15 minutes.
Safety Shower. A readily accessible, well-marked, rapid-action safety
shower should be located in the area where acid or caustic soda is being handled.
Safety Inspection. All safety equipment should be regularly inspected to
ensure it is in proper working condition. To prevent the accumulation of rust, the safety
shower and eyewash equipment should be operated (checked) weekly. Clearly marked
signs containing concise instructions on the use of the safety equipment should be
placed near the emergency eyewash fountain and the safety shower.
Container Management. The policy for container management is stated
in paragraph 1-2.3 and is restated here. The military does not accept responsibility for
disposal of chemical containers from water treatment suppliers or service companies.
Any such company that has been contracted to provide chemicals must provide them in
containers that are either reusable or returnable at the company's cost. The containers
remain the property of the contractor. All container systems should provide for
secondary containment of the contents.