By Nabila Al Hasan, Regulatory Compliance Specialist
Lubricant Uses & Properties
Lubricant is a fluid designed to reduce friction between two moving surfaces. Different types of lubricants include mineral oil, synthetic oil, aqueous lubricant, and bio-lubricant. They are used for a myriad of purposes in household, medical and industrial settings. Since mineral-oil-based lubricants are more widely used, lubricants are generally regarded as non-hazardous to humans. However, some lubricants require additives to enhance functionality, durability, or add biocidal properties and as a result, they can present a higher degree of hazards when exposed to their toxic vapors, mists, or dust.
It is important to note that the performance of a lubricant mainly depends on its viscosity and ability to withstand different temperatures and pressures, thereby requiring proper handling and storage practices. Regulatory specialists assess hazards of lubricating products based on composition, they also evaluate and document safety measures surrounding physical, health, and environmental hazards. The regulatory team at GSM specializes in guiding and providing proper hazard communication documents such as Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and product labels.
Some important safety tips to consider while working with industrial lubricants:
- When lubricating a machine, make sure the machine is shut down and be mindful of hot surfaces before touching any parts.
- Safe clothing must be worn before any lubricating job is carried out. This includes proper shoes, gloves, safety glasses, a bodysuit, and a headcover, if necessary.
- Ensure proper storage to avoid spills. Oil or grease spills can cause serious falls and fire hazards. If spilled, wipe immediately or clean using absorbent pads or granules.
- Keep oily rags in labeled waste containers.
- Handle flammable solvents in a well-ventilated area and make sure the container is grounded to prevent the fire from static electricity.
- Avoid breathing toxic vapors, mists, or dust – prolonged exposure can cause respiratory issues. Inquire about Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) for products in use.
- Prevent from reaching drains, sewers, and waterways. Discharge into the environment must be avoided. Dispose of in accordance with all applicable regulations
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