Liquid Pumps - for optimum safety when using liquid chemicals in industry

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Liquid Pumps - for optimum safety when using liquid chemicals in industry
Whether you work with millilitres or litres, liquids should always be handled with care and can present a range of hazards if they are handled badly. There are a few key aspects that should be considered when manipulating or pouring liquids - we've explored the main risks and what controls can be put in place to make your work safer. [caption id="attachment_4333" align="aligncenter" width="290"]Red Liquid in bottles Any liquid you work with could be hazardous if handled incorrectly - assess the risks and put suitable controls in place for safer working.[/caption]

Which liquids present hazards?

In a word - any! Each and every liquid you work with has the potential to be hazardous at certain volumes, temperatures, when mixed with incompatible substances or simply by causing a slip. A good first step in assessing the risks of working with different liquids is to list all the liquids you use. Remember to consider all stages of the task, from setting up, to normal use and not forgetting cleaning and maintenance.  

What hazards could be present?

Different facets of the work should be considered to determine which hazards are present, so look carefully at the task and how it is done to compile your own list. Broadly speaking, hazards may be caused by;risks of working with liquids
  • Temperature
    • e.g. scalds and burns
    • vapours coming off a liquid
    • boiling and splashing
  • Chemical
    • e.g. corrosive or irritant chemicals
    • volatile chemicals giving off vapours or fumes
    • reactions between incompatible chemicals (which could generate heat or hazardous by-products)
    • flammable or oxidising liquids coming into contact with sparks, fuels or other fire risks.
  • Slips
    • e.g. spilt liquids on floors causing people to slip
    • liquid on surfaces making items slide off
  • Physical
    • e.g. manual handling of large containers causing injury

How can pumps reduce risks when working with chemicals?

The hierarchy of controls should always be used when putting measures in place to reduce risks - eliminating unecessary tasks or chemicals that present hazards, or substituting less hazardous chemicals in are always the best options. Where this cannot be done, liquid pumps are a simple way to help reduce the risks associated with chemical work.
  • Remove the need for manual handling
  • Reduce the risk of vapours and fumes
    • Containers do not need to be opened fully, the pump simply lets out the required amount of liquid only
    • Large volumes are not poured out
    • Solvent specific pumps are gas tight to ensure vapours do not leak out around the joints or tap
  • Reduce the risk of spills
    • No manual pouring means no accidental spills
[caption id="attachment_9970" align="aligncenter" width="360"] Liquid pumps are available in a wide range of sizes, materials and formats to suit all tasks[/caption] They can even help to improve workflow in ways not related to safety;
  • Reduce waste
    • Easily dispense only the amount needed, rather than estimating by eye and then having waste
  • Speed up work
    • The ease of pressing a button or lever to dispense liquid out is faster than manual handling and pouring
Remember that you may also need suitable PPE such as gloves or goggles in addition to a pump - a full risk assessment will help you determine what is required.

How can you choose a suitable liquid pump?

Choosing the right pump is based on;
  • The type of container
    • What physical size and volume is the container?
    • What kind of screwthread or joint does it have to connect to a pump?
    • What container are you filling into?
  • The amount you need to dispense
    • What volume will be dispensed?
    • How often are you dispensing?
  • The type of liquid
    • What is it's viscosity? (How thick is it?)
    • Is it flammable, corrosive or any other hazard?
There are a huge range of pumps available to suit all types of task, liquid and working environment. To find out more, follow the links above or contact us to discuss how liquid pumps can make your work safer and faster;
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Yves Lachavanne
In addition to the pumps, Lab people can also use bottle top dispensers, which suitable for a large range of liquids, within volume range from 1 ml to 100 mL. Check Camlab or Socorex web site for details
Sophie Bryant
Hi Yves, Thanks for your comment - yes you're right, Bottle Top Dispensers are a great option for smaller volumes, while the Burkle range are larger pumps for bigger volumes. Both will help improve safety when you're transferring or dispensing liquids. Best regards Camlab