Methanol must always be handled delicately and safely. Below, we provide expert tips for handling methanol safely, what to do in the event of a spill, and what to do if a person is directly exposed to the toxic substance.
Only Handle With Proper PPE
Methanol is a toxic and flammable substance that can cause severe health problems to individuals who come into direct contact with the chemical. So, anyone handling methanol must have sufficient protective gear to avoid inhaling toxic fumes or exposing the substance to their skin and eyes.
Anyone handling methanol should have sufficient flame-resistant (FR) PPE that includes:
- Protective cap
- FR shirt
- FR pants
- Heavy-duty work boots
It’s also wise to wear multiple layers of FR gear while handling methanol, like a men’s fire-resistant jacket on top of a base layer of FR garments for added protection.
Only Handle in Well-Ventilated Area
Inhaling methanol vapors can cause severe and permanent damage to a person’s central nervous system, so another expert tip for safely handling methanol is to do it in a well-ventilated environment. If ingested, methanol can cause permanent blindness or possibly death, and it can have the same effects if inhaled.
A proper breathing apparatus and ventilation to filter out the toxic fumes are imperative for workers handling methanol. And if a spill occurs, ventilation is crucial to a safe clean-up.
What To Do if Methanol Is Spilled
If someone spills methanol, workers should not risk their well-being to try and clean it up—that requires specific skills and tools, so let the experts handle clean-up. Instead, workers should examine themselves for contamination and, if they can safely, try to mitigate the discharge of the methanol.
Workers should never touch or walk through the spillage, but they should attempt to remove any sources of ignition from the surrounding area. Every workplace should have emergency procedures for toxic spills, so follow them accordingly. Always stay upwind of methanol or any other toxic spillage to avoid inhaling toxic vapors.
What To Do if Exposed to Methanol
If a person comes into contact with methanol, they must act fast to mitigate the damage. They should immediately remove any contaminated clothing and start washing any skin that the methanol contacted with soap and water for at least 15 minutes.
If methanol touches a person’s eyes, they must flush them as best they can with tepid water for 15 minutes and immediately contact medical help. Time is of the essence when dealing with exposure to toxic substances, so stay calm and act quickly to remove the contaminants from the body and seek medical attention.