Procedure For Handling Substances
Hazardous To Health
Employers must ensure that the exposure of employees to substances hazardous to health is either prevented or, where this is not reasonably practicable, adequately controlled. To comply with this requirement it is necessary to keep on file up-to-date and relevant information about any substances that are used, handled or produced or stored on the employers premises, together with any substances transported or delivered.
The information required should cover the following points: -
[a] substance identification
[b] substance hazards
[c] substance risk assessment
[d] risk reduction methods
It is the policy of This Corporation that no hazardous substance shall be used until an assessment has been undertaken and suitable control measures implemented. 'Used' is defined as substances being poured, mixed, pumped, topped up or otherwise handled in a non-packaged form or produced.
- Identify and make an inventory of all hazardous substances that might be present or produced in the workplace including substances warehoused and/or transported. These can include any items that carry a warning label such as:
- Having identified all the substances you should ask the following questions of each substance.
(a) Is the substance used for the same purpose as any other of the substance(s) on the list and if YES - can you reduce the number of substances used.
(b) When was the substance last used? If it is only used occasionally, is it really needed? If not eliminate. If it cannot be eliminated move to 2 (c).
(c) Can the substance be substituted by a non-hazardous or less hazardous product? If yes eliminate and replace with non-hazardous product. If no move to 4 below.
- Having identified all the substances that are simply being stored you should refer to 7 below regarding the need for an accidental spillage plan. For substances in use you should refer to 4 below.
- Having now identified all substances in use e.g. poured, mixed, pumped or otherwise handled in a non-packaged form or produced, you should complete an Assessment Form for each identified substance paying particular attention to the section relating to material usage. The completed Assessment Form and the supplier's hazard data sheet, if available, should then be forwarded to the user.
- Once control measures have been implemented it is necessary to ensure that the control measures are kept in working order and good repair. For example if the control measure is an engineering control such as local exhaust ventilation then these should be examined and tested every six months.
It is a legal responsibility to ensure that control measures are being used properly and there must be arrangements to monitor their use and effectiveness. All employees are required by law to use any control measures and safe systems of work which have been introduced to reduce the risk of exposure to hazardous substances and also to inform or report to their management any defects in the control measures.
Where the requirement for monitoring of exposure of employees to hazardous substances has been identified further information should be sought from your occupational health professional.
In certain cases health surveillance may be required if there is a reasonable likelihood that disease or ill-effect will occur due to an exposure of a hazardous substance. Advice should be sought from your occupational health professional.
- Wherever a hazardous substance has been identified then all employees who use the substance or are likely to be affected by an accidental spillage must be informed of:
a) the risks to health created by exposure
b) the precautions to be taken to prevent an exposure
c) emergency procedures in the event of an accidental spillage
In addition where there are specific control measures in place, then employees should receive adequate training to enable them to comply with the control measures. Details of all such information and training must be recorded on individuals personnel file.
First Aid Personnel should always have access to the first aid information relevant to any identified substance.
All assessments should be reviewed at least annually and immediately if it is suspected that the existing assessment may no longer be valid. Details of reviews undertaken to be recorded on Assessment Review Control Form.
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