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Broken glass safety policies

Updated February 21, 2017

Glass is fragile and subject to breakage. When glass breaks, the proper handling procedures, generally described in a safety policy, ensure the safe disposal of the material without risk of injury. Following policy using the proper equipment aids in the safety of all involved with broken glass.

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Safety Gear

A glass safety policy should include a list of safety gear and the requirement that it be used during the cleanup of broken glass. Gear includes safety goggles and puncture-proof gloves. The policy should list the location of stored safety gear that all workers will wear if glass breaks in the workplace.

Warn Others

One of the first steps in handling a glass breakage incident involves letting everyone in the area know of the hazard. The policy may include placing signs around the debris to warn people. Other options require one staff member staying at the break location while others acquire the cleanup equipment.

Hands Off

Gather the broken glass while wearing puncture-proof gloves so you do not touch it with your hands. The policy should necessitate the use of dustpans and brushes or other articles for the cleanup process. Sweep the area as clean as possible after the larger broken pieces are picked up. Sweeping removes the chance of small glass particles posing a hazard.

Disposal Receptacles

Broken glass will tear through garbage bags or other common waste receptacles. The policy should require that the broken glass be stored in heavy cardboard boxes that can be closed with duct tape or other heavy tape. The boxes of broken glass can be disposed of with other building waste materials. Broken glass that is contaminated with human body fluids should be handled separately and disposed of as medical waste. In this case, the contaminated glass is placed in a red heavy bag or box and disposed of through the proper channels.

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About the Author

Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.

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