Corrosive chemical will cause severe damage when in contact with living tissue or, in case of leakage, will materially damage or even destroy the surrounding they come in contact with. It is likely to cause a fire when in contact with organic matter or certain chemicals. Certain corrosive substances have other more serious hazardous properties (toxicity flammability etc) and are commonly classed as toxic or flammable etc. rather then as corrosive.
Important corrosive substances are: Acids and anhydrous alkalis, halogens and halogen salts, organic halides, organic add halides, esters and salts.
When in contact with human tissues, most corrosive substances will produce chemical burns while certain other substances (as Chromic acid) produce deep ulceration. Many corrosive substances have a defeating action on the skin and ma y cause dermatitis.
The safeguards against these hazards are:
- Preventing or minimising contact between corrosive substances and skin, mucous membranes and eyes.
- Corrosive substances should not be allowed in come in contact with materials that may react.
- All the containers, pipes apparatus, installations and structures used for the manufacture storage transport or use of these substances may be protected by suitable coatings impervious to and unaffected by corrosives.
- All containers or receptacles should be clearly labelled to indicate their contents and should bear the danger symbol for corrosives.
- A high standard of maintenance and good housekeeping is essential.
- Adequate ventilation and exhaust arrangement whether general or local should be provided whenever corrosive toxic gases or dust are present.
- Personal protective devices should be used depending upon the nature of work viz. (a) Corrosion-resistant and impervious suits, or hand-gloves, aprons etc. (b) Respirator, gas mask or self contained breathing apparatus, (2) Barrier cream when exposure is not severe.
- First aid treatment facilities should be provided and all concerned should be instructed to fallow safe practices such as (a) Prolonged washing with Water (b) Removing contaminated clothing (c) Seeking immediate medical help.
- Safety showers and eye washers should be provided.