Chemical Hazard
Are you following the right method to minimise chemical hazards at workplace?

Do enough to reduce chemical hazard !!

Chemicals are used extensively in industry. Many useful products are delivered from chemicals. However, it is important to exercise caution in the usage of chemicals. Some chemicals are inherently so dangerous that they have to be stored in special containers to avoid contact with air. Others may appear harmless, but can cause injury almost immediately upon contact. For many toxic chemicals, the health effect may take a long period of time to develop.

Basically chemical may pose one or more of the following hazards: toxic, flammable, explosive, reactive and radioactive. To assess the hazard potential of a chemical, one should look not just at the inherent properties such as flammability, toxicity, reactivity and radioactivity of the chemical but also, the degree of exposure of the user. The latter would depend on many factors such as the chemical and physical properties, frequency of usage, amount of material being used and manner in which such chemical are handled.

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Organisational Measures – To reduce chemical hazards

  • identify chemicals in use;
  • obtain information of their hazards;
  • collect this data and make an inventory list of all chemicals used in the factory: create a Register for Workplace Chemicals;
  • assess chemical hazards and set priorities concerning the safety in the organisation;
  • create emergency plans for the assessed hazards;
  • organise occupational health care and regular surveys as necessary;
  • organise contacts with authorities/laboratories to create a monitoring system for chemical hazards, and to reliably measure and/or estimate occupational exposures to chemicals when needed;
  • start collecting case studies of accidents and sickness records in the enterprise to create a basis for priority measures in the control of hazards;
  • involve workers in safety organisations, such as the system of Safety Representatives, and Safety Committees;

At place of workA `Code of Practice’ has to be developed and applied to control hazard. This may
involve the following activities at the shop-floor level: Safety Committee could initiate to

  1. do regular inspection using checklists made for the particular chemicals and chemical processes in use;

  2. mark and label all chemicals;

  3. keep at hand an inventory list of all chemicals handled in the place of work together with a

    collection of Chemical Safety Data Sheets for these chemicals;

  4. train workers to read and understand the Chemical Safety Information, including the health

    hazards and routes of exposure; train them to handle dangerous chemicals and processes with respect;

  5. plan, develop and choose the safe working procedures;

  6. reduce the number of people coming into contact with dangerous chemicals;

  7. reduce the length of time and/or frequency of exposure of workers to dangerous chemicals;

  8. train workers to know and understand the emergency procedures;

  9. equip and train workers to use personal protective equipment properly after everything possible has been done to eliminate hazards by means of other methods.