Working with Chemicals Safely | Hasmate health and safety
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Working with Chemicals Safely

Working with Chemicals Safely

The prosecution of a Tauranga mussel processing company in 2018 for an industrial accident must certainly make all businesses  – using chemicals in any part of their operations – sit up and take note.

When you read the following, the incident could easily have been avoided with a few practical and simple risk management processes put in place.

Read the full article here.

Questions to consider for working with chemicals safely

If this had happened to your business, would the business have been able to withstand the prosecution cost and all the other associated costs?

Could this happen in your business? If yes, then consider the following.

  1. Do you need to use the chemical?  Is there another product in the market that would eliminate an accident from occurring?
  2. Does the business have an approved location, or safe and secure location, for the storage of the hazardous substances used in its business?
  3. Is this location locked and secured, and only accessible by authorised employees?
  4. When was the last time you audited and cleaned out the storage facility?
  5. Is the appropriate chemical classification signage posted?
  6. Is there a current inventory of what chemicals and their quantity held in the storage facility?
  7. Do you have adequate shelving to store large containers (20 litres +) so your employees don’t have to lift these containers every time to decanter the substances?
  8. Do you have posted PPE and safe operating procedures for when decanting hazardous substances?
  9. Do you use 20 litre or other bin tippers to decanter the hazardous substances?
  10. Have you informed your neighbouring businesses of what you have stored?  Have you been informed of what and where they store their hazardous substances?
  11. Is this location properly bunded to prevent leakage and spillage into the external ground and/or storm water drains?
  12. Do you have the most up-to-date material safety datasheets (MSDS) available in the facility?
  13. Have you developed emergency management procedures in case you have an emergency, and do have trained staff to deal with it?
  14. Have you provided the most suitable PPE for the use of hazardous substances and trained your employees in the safe use?
  15. Have you trained your staff (who use the chemicals) in the safe use and the required emergency procedures if there is an accident during decanting or use?
  16. Do you have documented training records of this training?
  17. Are there procedures in place for the safe disposal of all empty chemical containers?

References – Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017

For a free copy of a condensed version that sets out the 14 key points and your responsibilities under these regulations, please contact Hasmate today.