Why Chemical Safety is Important | Training Tuesday

why chemical safety is important

WHY CHEMICAL SAFETY IS IMPORTANT 

Why is chemical safety important? Hazardous or toxic chemicals are used in many industrial environments on a daily basis. 

Although chemicals make up the world around us, some can be more harmful than others—This is just one reason why chemical safety is important. 

Read on to learn how toxic chemicals can enter the body, how to identify hazards, some tips for using chemicals safely in the workplace and terms you should know. 

WHY CHEMICAL SAFETY IS IMPORTANT | 4 TYPES OF EXPOSURE

There are four different ways chemicals can enter the body. These are:

  1. Inhalation: Chemicals that take form in gas, vapour or particulates are easily inhaled. These chemicals can absorb into the respiratory tract, and can head into the bloodstream and organs. This is often noted as the most common way the body absorbs harmful chemicals. 
  2. Skin/Eye absorption: Chemical contact with skin can result in mild dermatitis, or a rash. However, chemicals can also be absorbed into the bloodstream this way. Eyes are also sensitive to most chemicals, so safety glasses must be worn when conducting work with chemicals. Another common scenario that causes eye contact to chemicals (especially if not wearing appropriate safety glasses) is wiping or rubbing at your eyes during chemical exposure.   
  3. Ingestion: Like with inhalation or skin/eye absorption, ingestion can cause the toxic chemicals to travel to the organs. When conducting work in areas where ingestion is likely, like confined spaces, it’s important to have an entry & exit plan, and the proper PPE for the job. 
  4. Injection: This doesn’t necessarily mean directly injecting chemicals into your bloodstream, but if you have a cut or other tear in the skin, chemicals can be absorbed this way. 

Chemicals often travel to the respiratory system, but how? The respiratory system has two main parts. These are the upper & lower airway passages. The upper respiratory system consists of the nose, mouth, pharynx & larynx. The lower respiratory system consists of the vocal cords to the trachea, to the end of the bronchial tree. 

It’s important to note that there are different factors that affect how the degree of hazard caused by the chemical. These are: 

  • How it enters the body 
  • How much enters the body 
  • How toxic the chemical is 
  • When/How it’s removed 
  • Biological variation 

WHY CHEMICAL SAFETY IS IMPORTANT | IDENTIFYING HAZARDS

Obviously, chemical exposure in the workplace is unavoidable—But risks and hazards can be managed. 

A risk assessment should be conducted for chemicals, just like is conducted for other workplace hazards.
To identify chemical hazards in the workplace:why is chemical safety important

  • Identify: Determine the chemicals in your workplace and safety hazards that go along with them. For example, if chlorine is used to clean, know that long-term exposure to chlorine can cause nausea & eye discomfort, and have eyewash stations in-place so employees can rinse their eyes if contact occurs. 
  • Assess: Take a look not just at hazardous chemicals in the workplace, but the processes that accompany them.
  • Control: After hazards are identified, put controls in-place to reduce the likelihood of an accident.

WHY CHEMICAL SAFETY IS IMPORTANT | TERMS TO KNOW 

ACUTE TOXICITY (SEE TOXICITY BELOW): Refers to exposure to chemicals that humans aren’t often around, or are in contact with due to an accident. For example, a leak at a plant could cause the locals to experience acute toxicity. Sometimes, effects are immediately felt, and in other cases effects can be delayed. 

BIOLOGICAL VARIATION: Characteristics that might be unique to the individual, like weight, height or sex. 

PARTICULATES: Solids or liquids that are dispersed as gas. Particulates can include dust, mist, fumes or other particles that are found in the space. 

TOXICITY: The measure of how poisonous a chemical is. For example, a chemical with a lower toxicity will need a much higher amount to be harmful than a chemical with a high amount of poison or toxicity. 

WORKPLACE HAZARDOUS MATERIALS INFORMATION SYSTEM (WHMIS): This is Canada’s national workplace hazard communication standard. This elements of WHMIS include hazard classification, cautionary labelling, availability of material safety data sheets and educational programs for employees. 

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FOR RELATED READING, CHECK OUT OUR BLOGS:

TRAINING TUESDAY: TAGLINES

 TRAINING TUESDAY | CONFINED SPACE HAZARDS

RIGGING AND LIFTING SLINGS | TRAINING TUESDAY


HERCULES SLR PROVIDES MAINTENANCE, INSPECTIONS & REPAIRS FOR RIGGING EQUIPMENT

NEED A LIFT? GIVE US A CALL, OR DROP US A LINE.

INFO@HERCULESSLR.COM  1 (877) 461-4876

 


Hercules SLR is part of Hercules Group of Companies, with locations and unique businesses coast-to-coast. We provide securing, lifting and rigging services for sectors in Canada and Internationally. Hercules SLR serves the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any hoisting solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876 or email info@herculesslr.com

How to Handle a Workplace Emergency

workplace emergency toy responder

How-to Handle a Workplace Emergency

We’ve discussed Emergency Preparedness Week earlier this week on the blog – But what about how to handle a workplace emergency? Emergency Preparedness Week is held for one week each year, and this week it’s May 5-11.

To celebrate, we’re sharing some of our best tips for emergency preparedness. 

Emergencies don’t wait until you’re home. We’ve covered general emergency preparedness, like what your emergency plan & kit should include, and that you should keep a version of both an emergency plan and kit in your workplace. 

It’s smart to be prepared for emergency situations no matter where you are. Many tips for emergency preparedness in the home apply to the workplace, but there are a few other situations and procedures unique to work that are worth being prepared for. (It’s also an essential part of any Occupational Health & Safety program). 

Emergencies you could encounter at work are:

  • Fires/Structural failures 
  • Medical emergencies
  • Attacks (Shootings, active assailants, etc.) 
  • Industrial accidents (Ex. hazardous chemical spills, burns, etc.) 

How can you prepare for emergencies in the workplace? We recommend: 

  • Conduct a workplace risk assessment
  • Hold emergency drills at least once a year 
  • Have an emergency kit in your office or workplace (Consider where the highest risk is, the amount of people and gather materials like blankets, food & water accordingly) 
  • Have a rescue procedure for falls, slips and other accidents relevant that are relevant to your workplace 
Four elements of a workplace emergency management program are:
  1. Prevention: Policies and procedures that minimize emergencies 
  2. Preparation: Hold drills and activities to make sure personnel is familiar with the procedure 
  3. Response: Action to take when emergency occurs 
  4. Recovery: Practices to resume normal business operations 
Here are six steps to plan for a workplace emergency: 
  1. Establish a planning team. The team should include representatives from different departments including senior management. 
  2. Assess the risks and how the company can respond.
  3. Develop an emergency response plan.
  4. Implement the plan—Get supplies, communicate & train others 
  5. Test the plan—Hold drills or exercises 
  6. Improve the plan continuously. Revisit the plan at least once a year.

So, what should you include in step 3? Here are some things you should include in your written workplace emergency response plan: 

  • Scope and outline potential emergencies 
  • Alarms and other methods of initiating a response 
  • Site-specific response procedures 
  • Command structure, roles & responsibilities 
  • How to shut down power & relevant machinery 
  • How to evacuate the premises
  • Communication systems and protocols 
  • Emergency contact lists 
  • Resource list 

Extra Workplace Emergency Tips  

  • Hold random emergency drills now and then—It can be worthwhile to show employees what a perceived threat is like, and how to ‘jump into action’ when you’re unprepared, and the hazard or incident is unplanned. 
  • Don’t forget about visitors—If you have customers, clients or other personnel that are likely to be in the workplace, don’t forget to include provisions for them in your plan 
  • Have accessible emergency information available—Having accessible emergency information includes posters and training videos 

We hope this gives you an idea of what to include in your workplace emergency plan. This is a loose guideline for handling workplace emergencies, as we mention at the beginning of the article it’s wise to prepare for emergencies that are relevant to your workplace—For example, if you work at heights often, an emergency plan for workers who have arrested a fall will be a necessary emergency plan to have. 


DEALING WITH A WORKPLACE EMERGENCY? CHECK OUT THESE BLOGS: 

STUCK IN A TIGHT SPOT? WHAT TO KNOW IN A CONFINED SPACE

NATIONAL EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS WEEK | WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW


HERCULES SLR PROVIDES REPAIRS, INSPECTIONS & MAINTENANCE FOR RIGGING EQUIPMENT

INFO@HERCULESSLR.COM  1 (877) 461-4876  


Hercules SLR is part of Hercules Group of Companies, with locations and unique businesses coast-to-coast. We provide securing, lifting and rigging services for sectors in Canada and Internationally. Hercules SLR serves the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any hoisting solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876 or email info@herculesslr.com