The image in this pictogram shows a tube spilling liquid onto a hand (right) and a piece of metal (left). This pictogram represents the dangerous products that can cause corrosion to metals, skin and those that can cause serious eye damage. Corrosive materials are often acids or bases, although other chemicals can be corrosives as well.
Corrosive Acid examples:
- acetic acid, sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, nitric acid
Corrosive Base examples:
- sodium hydroxide (lye), ammonium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide
Two separate incidents show how easily a corrosive material can cause damage to an employee when the proper precautions are not taken.
- An employee cleaning out a fryer vat went to pour the contents of the fryer (cleaning product and oil) into a sink when the container slipped from his grasp, causing the corrosive product to splash onto his face and arms. He suffered from 2nd and 3rd degree burns. He was not wearing any PPE and his bucket did not have a handle or a lid. Source
- An employee at a meat processing plant cleaned the equipment daily using a mixture of 50% water and 50% sodium hydroxide. He wore basic food grade vinyl gloves supplied by his employer that was not adequate protection against the cleaning mixture. He tripped over other work equipment and his fall caused the uncovered bucket to spill up onto his face and in his eyes. He was unable to guide his way to the eyewash station and was left with permanent damage in one eye and was left blind in the other. Similar to the damage shown in the above photo. Source
It is NOT only workplace materials that can be corrosive in nature. Many common household materials can be corrosive as well and can cause serious damage if not handled properly.
Did you know - Some of your common everyday household products may require personal protective equipment for safe handling?
Corrosive Household Product examples:
- bleach and household cleaners, rust removers, wax strippers, laundry stain removers, oven cleaners, drain cleaners, and automotive lead-acid batteries Source
The WHMIS | GHS pictograms, like those shown throughout this article, are put in place for a reason. It is imperative that these symbols and the recommended methods of safe handling are put into place, whether at work or at home.