It’s not uncommon for employees to accidentally spill chemicals and liquids when transferring them into different containers. This may not seem like a serious problem, but even nontoxic chemical spills can create a serious risk for slip-and-fall injuries in the workplace. Allowing small amounts of motor oil or similar lubricants to drip onto a solid concrete floor will result in a slippery surface that’s an accident waiting to happen.
Transfer Chemicals Through a Funnel
The safest and most effective way to transfer chemicals from one container to another is through the use of a funnel. Whether you’re it’s 1 gallon or 50 gallons, all liquid-based chemicals should be poured through a funnel to reduce the chance of spills. The wide, open body of a funnel keeps the chemical contained so there’s less risk of it dripping into the floor or spilling it while pouring.
A high-quality funnel should feature a chemical and rust-resistant polyethylene design along tall sidewalls to prevent unwanted splashing when transferring liquids. It’s important to note that only designated funnels should be used for transferring chemicals and liquids, not makeshift funnels. Pouring gasoline through a foam funnel, for instance, wouldn’t work, as the gasoline would burn straight through the foam material and possibly burn the worker’s hands and body.
Note: there are certain types of funnels designed specifically for drums. If you intend to transfer chemicals or liquids into a 30-gallon or 50-gallon drum, stick with one of these funnels.
Tips When Using a Funnel:
- Pour the chemical as close to the funnel as possible so there’s less risk of splashing.
- Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes.
- Check the ground beforehand to ensure it’s free of spills and obstructions (you don’t want to slip while transferring the chemical).
- Secure the funnel to the ‘new’ container before pouring the chemical or liquid.
- If you intend to reuse the funnel, thoroughly clean it after each and every use.
- Check your local state laws to determine the correct method of disposal for chemical-ridden funnels.
Another important measure that’s often overlooked when transferring chemicals into new containers is to perform the transfer on a flat, even surface. Even slight grades will significantly increase the chance of a spill. Set both the current and new container on a flat surface and then begin the transfer through the funnel. When you are finished, checked to make sure none of the chemical has spilled on the floor.