Sudoku – safety cupboards

Here is a special version of the popular Sudoku brainteaser that uses letters instead of numbers. The rules are the same, each row, column and 3×3 square box must contain each of the letters in the keyword exactly once.

We have filled in some of the grid to give you a start.

As you might expect from the safety storage specialists your keyword is “CUPBOARDS“.

Come back next week for the solution and a new puzzle!

10 Common Household Chemicals

It is surprising how many dangers lurk in products we use almost every day in the home and at work. Here’s a rundown on the 10 most common hazardous substances that are virtually guaranteed to be in every home in the land.

Antibacterial surface cleaners contain ammonium based or phenolic chemicals that are very irritating to the eyes and skin and will burn your throat so care should be taken particularly if using a spray type product. It’s advisable to wear latex dishwashing gloves to help protect your skin when using these cleaners.Jessica Rohrer painting: household cleaning supplies

Window and Glass liquid cleaners and aerosols may be irritating to the eyes, skin, nose, and throat. If swallowed, they may cause drowsiness, unconsciousness, or death.

All-purpose cleaners commonly contain Ammonia, Ethylene Glycol and sodium hypochlorite cause severe irritation to the skin, eyes, nose, and throat and can be highly poisonous if swallowed. Some of these poisonous chemicals also have an odour attractive to animals and pets.

Oven cleaner is either sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide commonly called Lye or caustic soda, is extremely corrosive, and can burn skin and eyes. It is usually fatal if swallowed.

Automatic dishwashing detergents can produce skin irritations or chemical burns, are poisonous if swallowed.

Air fresheners are used in various places throughout the home and contain four basic ingredients formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, p- dichlorobenzene, and aerosol propellants. Air fresheners are usually highly flammable and can cause irritation to eyes, skin, and throat. Solid block type air fresheners usually cause death if eaten by people or pets.

Petrol and Solvents are highly flammable and petrol vapours mixed with air are potentially explosive and highly flammable. Serious lung injury may occur if droplets of petrol are inhaled and drinking petrol is more often fatal. Petrol also causes skin damage and prolonged exposure can affect the nervous system.Household cleaning products ***ALL BRAND NEW, UNOPENED"

Lubrication Oil contains some chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer (carcinogens). If disposed of improperly for example down the drain or onto the land it poses a very serious threat to the environment because it is toxic to fish and birds. Just a pint of motor oil in water can form an oil slick almost 5000 square yards in area. That’s equivalent to a football field! Flammable cabinets are ideal to store oil.

Antifreeze containing Ethylene glycol is very poisonous when swallowed and can be absorbed by the skin. It will cause severe damage to the heart, kidneys and brain and ultimately cause death. It has a sweet smell attractive to animals including pets that could be killed by licking or drinking the fluid. Clean up any spills immediately and wear rubber gloves when handling. Propylene Glycol is a new alternative that is much less toxic.

Oil-based paint contains organic solvents that can be irritating to eyes and skin, and can cause cracking of skin. Inhaling paint fumes can result in headaches, nausea, dizziness, and can make you feel very tired if you breathe in the fumes for too long.

NEVER mix different kinds of cleaners together, especially if one contains ammonia and the other contains chlorine. This can produce a gas called chloramine that can be fatal if inhaled.

What is COSHH?

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations is enforced to protect people in the workplace against health risks from hazardous substances either used or arising from their work. Typically this covers cleaning agents, solvents and chemical reagents used directly and also substances arising from work practices such as dust, fumes and waste by-products.

COSHH lays down a compliance framework to guide businesses on identifying and implementing the necessary precautions and is therefore an essential management tool. Evidence strongly suggests correct implementation of COSHH has the potential for identifiable cost benefits by reducing substance waste, misuse and the remedial cost of accidental spills.

COSHH applies to virtually all substances hazardous to health. Exceptions include asbestos and lead and substances which are hazardous only because they are radioactive, asphyxiants, at high pressure/temperature or have explosive/flammable properties. Most of these hazards are covered by other Regulations.

COSHH has legal teeth and should not be seen just as a code of practice. Prosecutions are regularly brought for infringements. Hazards to look out for are storing incompatible substances such as acids and alkalis in the same enclosure preferably COSHH rated hazardous Storage Cabinets, storing flammables close to a heat source, inadequate ventilation, inadequate safeguards against environmental pollution such as spill control and lack of PPE ( personal protective equipment) to protect the workforce.

A Step by Step Guide to implementing COSHH legislation can be found in our Advice pages

Adoption of new Hazard Substance labels

As a follow on from my earlier comments regarding the correct use of COSHH rated hazardous substance cabinets I should have added that if using a general purpose COSHH cabinet the need for correct labelling to identify the actual class of materials stored still applies. Use of the old black “Cross” designating “Harmful” is being phased out in favour of more specific pictograms so that the hazard posed by the contents is clear and unambiguous. The Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) is a UN inspired scheme intended to establish a standardized global system to harmonise all the various national and regional hazard communication systems around the world that apply to the control and supply of hazardous chemicals. The GHS when fully rolled out will act in much the same way that the ‘Orange Book’ provides a global framework for the transport of dangerous goods.

This makes absolute sense given our modern global marketplace and Europe is one of the first to adopt the GHS via the CLP (Classification, Labeling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures). This Regulation is entitled “Regulation (EC)No 1272/2008” and supercedes Directives 67/548/EEC and 1999/45/EC.

There is a generous transition period so the old hazard labels on your existing cabinets and existing warehouse stock are acceptable. The plan is to achieve a full transition by 2015. If you are using General purpose COSHH Storage cabinets although the “Cross” label denoting “Hazard” may already be attached but you may be best advised to source the appropriate CLP hazard label specific to the contents for example Flammable, Toxic, Corrosive, Explosive, Environmental Hazard etc to satisfy the Health and Safety and Fire Safety legislation.

Although the CLP legislation is quite detailed and complex for product Safety Data Sheets and labeling of the chemical container or its outer packaging that may involve displaying several pictograms this is not necessary on a hazardous storage cabinet where only the general hazardous class is required.

A summary of the new label pictograms is given below. Note that there is a different set of CLP harmonized labels required for use in the transportation of Hazardous goods. For the full text of Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 go to

Physical Hazards

Health Hazards

Environmental Hazards