Cleaning Solvents


Cleaning solvents are used in the day-to-day construction work to clean tools and equipment. Special care must be taken to protect the worker from hazards, which may be created from the use of these liquids. Wherever possible, solvents should be nonflammable and nontoxic. The foreman must be aware of all solvents / flammables that are used on the job, and be sure that all workers who use these materials have been instructed in their proper use, and any hazard they pose.

The following instructions or rules apply when solvents / flammables are used:

  • Use non-flammable solvents for general cleaning.
  • When flammable liquids are used, make sure that no hot work is permitted in the area.
  • Store flammables and solvents in special storage areas.
  • Check toxic hazards of all solvents before use. Refer to Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS).
  • Provide adequate ventilation where all solvents and flammables are being used.
  • Use goggles or face shields to protect the face and eyes from splashes or sprays.
  • Use rubber gloves to protect the hands.
  • Wear protective clothing to prevent contamination of worker's clothes.
  • When breathing hazards exist, use the appropriate respiratory protection.
  • Never leave solvents in open tubs or vats - return them to storage drums or tanks.
  • Ensure that proper containers are used for transportation, storage and field use of solvents / flammables.
  • Where solvents are controlled products, ensure all employees using or in the vicinity of use or storage are trained and certified in the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS). Ensure all WHMIS requirements are met.