At one time or other, you and your co-workers have received some sort of training on “Hazard Chemicals”, alerting you to the chemicals in use at your worksite. But everyone should review this information now and then, as a reminder of the need to be cautious.

Hazards from chemicals and other materials are everywhere we look – at work and at home. To protect yourself, you should know what type of exposure a particular chemical or material presents
If your work environment includes the use of dangerous chemicals, here are some of the steps that every employer should take to ensure that employees are properly protected.

  1. Complete the SWMS – this is a regulated requirement anyway, but make sure you complete the SWMS according to best practices – be consultative with your team and make sure you get their input into the writing of the document, and then make sure that every person that is working on the site has been full briefed on it, and it’s readily available as they need it.

  3. Understand the chemicals that you’re working with – Knowing whether the chemicals are flammable, combustible, corrosive, and react to sunlight, heat or water is all important. The manufacturer should provide a full safety breakdown with the chemical, so make sure that before work commences you go over this in full with your team so they understand where the greatest risks lie.

  5. Make sure everyone’s first aid skills are up to scratch. Ideally, every single person on the worksite should undertake a refresher course on first aid, and specifically get training and advice on the best practice first aid for the chemicals being managed on-site.

  7. Ensure that the worksite is properly ventilated according to safety standards. Hazardous chemicals require very specific levels of ventilation, and it’s important to confirm that the work site meets those requirements before commencing to work

  9. Confirm the disposal process ahead of time. Across the entire cycle of work, from the deployment of the chemicals to their disposal, the team needs to understand how the chemical will be stored and managed on-site.
    When the specific type of chemical or material hazard is identified, proper planning and precautions should be taken to prevent exposure and address emergencies.
    PPE equipment is critical!
    Every employee on site should have a chemical hazard suit, as well as the right grade of eyewear and protective face masks. This equipment should be constantly monitored for wear and damage, and employers should err on the side of caution and be active in replacing equipment frequently. Remember, environments that involve hazardous chemicals will cause protective equipment to wear away quickly.
    With the right safety measures it’s possible to make use of the chemicals that we need for the production and management of our modern lives, without putting undue risk on the people that need to work with the chemicals themselves. This is one area where safety and regulation are incredibly strict, so, for the health of their business as well as their employees, every employer needs to pay particular attention to safety best practices.
    NECA has a long history of helping employers with chemical safety, from providing SWMS templates through to the provision of the leading chemical hazard suit. We also consult closely with businesses to help them understand and deliver on their safety requirements. For more information, contact us today.