Find out how to improve hazard prevention in the chemical industry.
Working with chemicals comes with no shortage of risks, so hazard prevention in the chemical industry must always be near the top of your priorities. Chemicals may represent a component part or an end product in your processes. They also exist as cleaning products and fuels. These all require careful handling. Thankfully, there are numerous practices you can adopt to minimise harm to your staff and keep your workplace compliant.
Most Common Hazards
The effects of hazardous chemicals on people vary greatly, from skin irritation to burns, or corrosive activity caused by prolonged contact with skin. Then there are burns from flammable or inflammable products, and poisoning from toxic byproducts.
Hazards vary according to the chemical state, with liquids liable to be absorbed through skin, and gasses by inhalation. The additional possibility of chemicals changing state must be factored into hazard assessment.
Most at risk are individuals handling chemicals on a daily basis, but there are risks associated with accidental exposure. This means secure storage and controlled access are important considerations in hazard prevention.
Hazard Prevention in the Chemical Industry: Checklist
Protecting yourself and your staff from risk when working with chemicals is an ongoing task that should never be taken lightly.
Train your staff. Risk awareness should be stressed to all staff during induction and training. It should be repeated at routine intervals. Staff should also be advised of hazards when working with new chemicals or in new environments and what actions to take if they’re exposed to controlled substances.
Provide adequate working environments. Keep areas that are used for chemical handling well ventilated, and enforce strict cleaning routines for surfaces, equipment and staff after usage.
Always use the correct protective equipment. This includes specialist equipment for high-risk chemicals, ADR signage, and vehicle equipment, as well as standard PPE.
Maintain and audit equipment. Always keep equipment in good working order. Carry out any high-risk maintenance out of hours when there are fewer people around to be exposed.
Responsible use of chemicals. In the workplace, best practice is to keep chemical use to the minimum required. The more you use, the greater the hazard. Cautionary labels advising responsible use should be read and adhered to at all times.
Dispose of chemicals properly. There are laws and guidelines relating to correct disposal procedures, so don’t put chemicals in the bin or down the drain.
Carry out emergency procedure drills. All staff should be informed of emergency plans to be carried out in the event of an accident. This can include evacuation procedure, emergency protective equipment, and meeting points.
It’s essential to evaluate your plans and controls regularly in order to improve procedures and reflect changes in the workplace. Technology changes rapidly, as does our understanding of the effects of different substances on health, so ensure your knowledge is up to date. Staff can also have different attitudes to safety, making thorough training of paramount importance.
At Hazchem Safety, it’s our business to promote good safety regimes for people and the environment. As technology advances, it’s never been more important to continually review your procedures, as well as invest in the very latest protective equipment. The chemical transport and manufacturing industry has always been our core service offering.
Our staff are able to advise, specify and source the head-to-toe PPE you need to protect your workforce against the most aggressive chemicals. Request a callback.