Seven Basic Principles of Chemical Cleaning

The purpose of the GICC is to help save lives and reduce injuries in the industrial cleaning industry. Our mission is to help national safety associations adopt basic cleaning principles in high pressure waterjetting, municipal/vacuum truck cleaning, chemical cleaning, and respiratory protection that are easy to implement country by country. For more detailed explanation of the above, please refer to your country’s best practices document. For more detailed explanation of the above, please refer to your country’s best practices document.

#1 Joint Responsibility

Asset Owners, Manufacturers/Suppliers of Equipment, and Industrial Cleaning Contractors have the joint responsibility to collaboratively create and implement safety guidelines.

#2 Three Areas of Focus

Safety guidelines should focus on…

Methods: use the safest possible method and processes to clean

Means: properly select and use the right type of equipment, tooling and process

People take personal responsibility to understand and follow safety guidelines; commit to training

#3 Staff Education and Training

Operators and supervisors should be educated and trained on how to work safely and effectively and committed to ongoing and repeated training.

#4 Sharing Knowledge and Continuous Learning

New developments in safe working practices should be followed and sharing of knowledge is encouraged. Each safety organization should have a reporting system for accidents and near misses.

#5 Assurance of the Guidelines

Contractors and Asset Owners need to work together to ensure proper working methods are in place, only properly skilled, trained and certified people are working on-site, and that equipment being used meets proper specifications and maintenance cycle/certification as required by the manufacturer or certifying body.

#6 Working with Safe Equipment

Only work with specifically designed and engineered chemical cleaning equipment, know and follow the manufacture’s recommended operating and maintenance procedures.

  • Ensure Chemical Compatibility with Pumping Equipment and Equipment Being Cleaned

  • Avoid Cross Contamination and Always Flush Your Equipment After the Job

  • Leak Test Before Adding Chemicals

  • Ensure Hoses Are Tested, Tagged and Dated

  • Do Not Use Damaged Equipment

  • Ensure all chemical cleaning and owner equipment are rated for operating conditions, i.e., temperatures, pressures, flows

  • Be aware of systems used to heat chemical solutions which create potential hot surfaces, such as steam hoses / spargers and heat exchangers.

  • Maintain good housekeeping to minimize tripping hazards associated with hoses, equipment, and accessories.

#7 Working According to Safe Methods

Chemical cleaning activities should be carried out using the safest and least physically arduous working method possible. Every method has specific tasks, responsibilities and precautionary measures. The goal is to keep everyone safe and out of the line of fire and work to a professional standard.

  • Barricade the working area, provided clear signs that chemical cleaning takes place

  • Understand Dangerous Goods Storage, Segregation, and Handling.

  • Always have Safety Data Sheets available during the chemical cleaning activity

  • Be aware of reactions thay may occur as the result of chemical cleaning such as evolutions of gasses (H2S, CO2, H2) which may be toxic or flammable, or exothermic reactions that produce heat. This may also result in overpressuring of hoses and vessels.

  • Always Add Chemicals To Water, Not Water To Chemicals

  • Secure Temporary Fittings and Restrain Your Hoses

  • Protect The Environment, Always Bund Possible Spill Points

  • Communication Is Paramount, Stay Alert and Continually Monitor the Circuit

  • Know The Location of the Safety Shower

  • Keep Inert Absorbant Material / Spill Kits Nearby When Handling Chemicals

  • Walk the Circuit and Check Valve Direction Prior to Starting the Pump

  • Ensure PPE is Resistant to the Chemicals Being Handled

  • Follow Lockout-Tagout Procedures

  • Exercise Caution Around Mechanical Hazards

  • Always Perform a Last-Minute Risk Assessment (LMRA)