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Stand-Up Training: Handling Chemicals Safely

Employee reading chemical label

Empower Employees Through Food Safety Training

Chemicals such as cleaning agents and sanitizers help keep your establishment clean and safe. However, they can harm your employees and customers if they are not used or stored properly. This training will help your employees understand how dangerous chemical hazards are and how to prevent them. If chemical contamination occurs, your employees will know how to handle the situation.

Learning Objectives

You may choose to read these learning objectives with your employees as a part of the stand-up training.

After this training, employees will be able to:

  • Use and store chemicals safely
  • Properly dispose of used or spilled chemicals
  • Recognize a chemical hazard and know how to fix it

The Facts

You may choose to read these facts with your employees as a part of the stand-up training.

  • Never use chemicals around food. Store them in a place away from food, such as in a utility closet.
  • Chemical containers, including spray bottles, should be clearly labeled.
  • Always discard chemicals according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • If a chemical spills, it could react with unknown compounds on the surface where it has spilled. Because it’s not always clear what it has reacted with, spilled chemicals should never be put back in the original container. Instead, discard the chemicals according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Never mix chemicals unless following the manufacturer’s instructions. Mixing them could cause a dangerous chemical reaction.
  • Chemical pesticides may leave a residue on the outside of fruits and vegetables. Wash all fruits and vegetables to ensure chemicals and other hazards are removed.
  • If you think that food has been contaminated with a chemical, discard the food immediately.

Training Activities

Choose the activities that will be most beneficial for your employees. Modify them as needed to fit the training needs of your establishment.

Using Chemicals for Cleaning and Sanitizing

Watch: Using and Storing Chemicals video

Discuss: How are chemicals handled in our establishment?

Review: If you have a cleaning schedule, take some time to review it together. If you do not have a cleaning schedule, begin to create one together. As you go, determine if there are conditions that could create a chemical hazard—for example, if someone cleans and sanitizes kitchen equipment while food is present. Correct any existing or potential chemical hazards.

Chemical Inventory

Demonstrate: Show your employees where chemicals should be stored to prevent cross-contamination.

Observe: Ask your employees to examine the chemical containers. If you find any unlabeled chemicals, show your employees how to properly dispose of them and explain how the bottles should be labeled.

Explain: If your employees are unfamiliar with a chemical, briefly explain what the chemical is used for.

Display (optional): Hang up the Use Chemicals Safely poster to remind food handlers of the principles they’ve just learned.

Following Up

Observe your employees when they use, mix, or store chemicals and wash fruits or vegetables. Give praise when you see them using or storing chemicals properly. Provide feedback and correct any actions that could be harmful.

Make sure your shift managers and supervisors can answer questions that other employees may have about handling chemicals. Encourage employees to ask questions when they need help instead of guessing at the right answer.

As needed, review this training with your employees.

Training Resources

Did you use this stand-up training in your establishment? We’d love to get your feedback! Take a minute to do our feedback survey.

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— Alyssa Erickson

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