Know Your Requirements for Chemical & Hazardous Material Management

“Healthy Workplaces Manage Dangerous Substances” – European Safety Agency

An EU wide campaign for all member states created by the European Safety Agency in relation to chemical and hazardous materials management has been widely welcomed by member states.

Of note, The HSE have been strong advocates which is welcoming news,  reinforcing the importance for companies from all industries handling Chemicals, Dangerous & Hazardous Materials.

“The HSE are delighted to support the European Safety Agency’s campaign and have taken this opportunity to review chemical safety to provide helpful information and tools for all our colleagues to better manage hazardous chemicals in the workplace.” HSE website

The most important message we can draw from this is that all Safety Managers should be aware of their requirements when it comes to hazardous chemical compliance management in their workplace.

Workers are exposed to dangerous substances in many European workplaces. Such exposures are more common than most people realise and, in fact, may occur in almost all workplaces. This presents major safety and health concerns.

A step by step process has been published by the HSE which details your requirements for chemical management in stages.

1. Review All Chemicals

chemical containers stacked on shelving

A common issue for the workplace is awareness of exactly what chemicals are used and stored in their workplace. It is imperative that a detailed chemical inventory is carried out for chemical management. By knowing what is on-site is the first step and can work as a useful exercise to carry out the long finger task of clearing out the “shelf in the corner” or “locked old storeroom”. It can serve as a housekeeping exercise to reduce over-ordering of materials which is another common issue with Chemicals we discover on site.

There is no greater risk than expired chemicals sitting in storage, It is a catastrophe sitting in wait!

2. Identify Hazardous Chemicals

chemical bottle protection of a hazardous chemical with GHS symbols that indicate toxicity, corrosivity and contamination

Reading container labels is a start;

When purchasing chemicals, it is a legal requirement that all manufacturers issue a Safety Data Sheet for your consultation. You need to have all SDS sheets on file or you can’t possibly know all the risks that exist! It is also a legal requirement that you have these to hand in the event of an accident or emergency.

Another quick note is if there are any hazardous chemical containers on your site with the older CHIP hazard labels, it would suggest this chemical is now at least three years old and you need to consider safe disposal if the expiry dates are approaching. This is an essential element of correct chemical management.

3. Identify & Assess The Risks

Chemical Risk Assessment - Chempli - Methanol

As a manager, have you assessed your staff’s exposure to chemicals?

You are required to fully review all chemicals running a Chemical Agent Risk Assessment fully considering the following factors:

  • The Amount used or Stored
  • Classification of the Chemical
  • Potential Route Of Exposure
  • Physical, Health & Environmental Hazards
  • Dustiness or Volatility
  • Total Employee Exposure
  • SDS Review
  • Severity V Likelihood Evaluation

4. Implement Identified Controls

Hazardous materials White container and blue drums on an industrial storage site

Once you have assessed the risk associated with the use of chemicals, you are required to identify the control measures necessary to reduce the risks to a reasonable level, another essential for proper chemical management

Ensure you have considered the following the “STOP” principle according to the EU’s Chemical Agents Directive (CAD).

  • Substitution: Is there an alternative material available for your process that is deemed less hazardous?
  • Technological Measures: Is your lab/warehouse adequately ventilated to allow enough air changes/hr to remove harmful vapours from chemicals stored or used?
  • Organisational Measures: Are your chemicals stored safely? How can you reduce employee exposure? Have your employees been trained on how to safely use all hazardous chemicals in your facility? What are your emergency procedures? Have you considered the hazard class of the chemicals? Are you storing flammables? Do your chemicals need to be safely segregated to reduce the risk on your site?
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Wear protective clothing or equipment as identified through risk assessment and where necessary provide appropriate training in its use.

Do you have a Chemical Management System in place currently that you feel addresses your requirements as a manager above? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you prepared for your next audit?
  • Does the thought of it keep you awake at night?
  • Is your office full of paper copies of your Safety Data Sheets, Incident Reports, Regulatory requirements, staff training files and countless other documents?
  • Have you identified all the chemical risks in your workplace?
  • Do you need a chemical management system that works for you?

If you are unsure or would like to arrange a free no obligations site compliance assessment with a trained professional, please contact Chemstore by clicking here or by using the LiveChat in the bottom left of your browser.

References:

  • www.hse.ie/eng/staff/safetywellbeing/chemical-management/
  • www.osha.europa.eu/en
  • www.hsa.ie/eng/Publications_and_Forms/Publications/Chemical_and_Hazardous_Substances/Your_Steps_to_Chemical_Safety.pdf
  • www.chempli.com
3 steps for selecting a hazardous material storage solution provider

Hazardous materials, whether in a raw state or the finished product, are capable of producing a wide range of physical damage – from fires and explosions to health problems and, in some cases, even death.

So when you’re choosing a hazardous storage solution provider, it’s essential you do your research to ensure you find a provider that has the right solution for your needs, is experienced in dealing with your hazardous goods, is fully trained and aware of the latest legislation to safeguard your compliance. To help you, we’ve put together some tips to help you start the selection process:

1. Identify and quantify hazardous materials stored on your site
Any chemical that has been supplied to your site would have been issued with a safety data sheet – it’s the law. Use these sheets to start classifying any hazardous materials stored and processed on your site. Classifications:

  • Flammable
  • Corrosive
  • Toxic
  • Oxidiser
  • Harmful
  • Dangerous for aquatic life
  • Explosive
  • Compressed gas
  • Health hazard

Alongside classification, you’ll also need to quantify the amount you’re storing on site – do this for each type of chemical. Then, record the number of different sizes and types of containers that hold your hazardous materials.

2. Identify the application and necessity of your hazardous materials
This is a necessary step to identify the exact purpose of storing hazardous materials on your site. You need to question whether it is really necessary for each material to be housed on your site. And where possible, you should investigate whether you can substitute a hazardous material for a non-hazardous one. Secondary risks can also become apparent when identifying each application. For example, in the case of dispensing a flammable chemical on site the risk of static charge build up will then need to be considered. Application categories include:

  • Cleaning
  • Mixing
  • Dispensing
  • Fuel
  • Testing

3. Protect your employees and prove your compliance
The safe handling and storage of hazardous materials is one of the most important tasks for the protection of the health of employees. The employer has many responsibilities and must be aware of the potential hazards different materials contain.

It’s critical that you request information on relevant government legislation and regulations for the safe storage of your hazardous materials on site.  The HSE and other government organisations are there to help ensure that environmental health and safety risks are minimised as far as reasonably practicable in industrial organisations, so don’t be afraid to ask what you need to do to become compliant.

One of Chemstore’s team can talk you through the necessary steps and provide expert advice to ensure you are compliant.

Contact Chemstore
One of our engineers can issue you with a full site proposal with the relevant advice, products and services to enable your site compliance for the safe storage of hazardous materials.

The Chemstore team provides a full after sale service to inspect and maintain all products to ensure the highest standards are upheld.

Request your free site assessment and expert hazardous material storage solutions from an experienced Chemstore engineer today. Call 020 8704 1807 or email us.

Key Tips for Hazard Classification & Identification

Chemstore has over 21 years’ experience in area classification & the safe storage of hazardous chemicals in the workplace.

On a daily basis our team receive enquiries and questions from our clients regarding the best practice to mitigate the risks and how to enable compliance for the storage of hazardous goods in their premises.

In this brief article we want to familiarize you with some key tips to identify hazards and know the risks you take when storing hazardous chemicals in your workplace.

According to the HSE guidance document ‘HSG71’ the most common cause of incidents in the workplace are:

  • Lack of awareness of the properties of dangerous substances
  • Lack of training
  • Inappropriate storage conditions with respect to the hazards of the substance

SDS Sheets

When receiving dangerous substances to your premises the first document you should consult is the SDS (Safety Data Sheet) sheet for each substance.

sds sheet

 

 

The SDS sheet will provide key information for:

  1. Identification of the substance
  2. Hazard Identification
  3. Composition/Information on Ingredients
  4. First Aid Measures
  5. Fire Fighting Measures
  6. Accidental Release Measures
  7. Handling & Storage
  8. Exposure Controls/Personal Protection
  9. Physical & Chemical Properties
  10. Stability & Reactivity
  11. Toxicology Information
  12. Ecological Information
  13. Disposal
  14. Transport
  15. Regulatory Information
  16. Other Information

Please ensure that any goods on your premises are supplied with SDS sheets.

CLP Classification System

European Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 on classification, labeling and packaging of substances and mixtures came into force on 20 January 2009 in all EU Member States, including the U.K. & Ireland It is known by its abbreviated form, ‘the CLP Regulation’ or just plain ‘CLP’.

From the 01st June 2015 compliance with the CLP regulations will be mandatory in all EU member states.

The CLP labelling system was developed to provide striking labeling on goods that works as a clear indication to any personnel who work with dangerous goods in the workplace. The CLP classification labels is something that all your employees should be fully competent with.

Chemstore have provided information below on the notable CLP labels:

1. Explosive

 Explosive

2. Compressed Gases

 Compressed Gases

 

3. Flammable Substance

flamable substance

4. Caution

caution

5. Toxic Substance

toxic substance

 

6. Corrosive Substance 

corrosive substance

 

 

7. Health Hazard 

health hazard

8. Oxodizing Substance 

oxidisingsubstance

 

9. Hazardous to the Aquatic Environment

HazardoustoAcquaticEnvironment

 

For any queries you have on hazard identification and storing dangerous goods in the workplace, contact any member of the Chemstore team today.

Chemicals Risk Assessment

The identification of hazards, evaluation of their risks and putting in place of control measures to secure the health and safety of employees is a major element for managing health and safety under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005. The Chemical Agent Regulations 2001 point out the specific requirements necessary to complete a Chemical Agents risk assessment of the chemical agents used in the work place.

The Risk Assessment steps:Risk Assessment Concept.

  1. Identify the chemical hazards.
  2. Consider who might be affected and how they might be harmed.
  3. Evaluate the risks. What are you doing now and what further precautions are needed?
  4. Document and implement your findings.
  5. Update and review as required.

Step One

The first step in risk assessment is to identify the chemical hazards. When recording all potential chemical hazards, look beyond the obvious. As well as considering the use of chemical agents, look at chemicals or substances that may be produced by a process, for example welding fumes etc. Evaluate the correct storage and the quantities of chemicals being stored as well as waste disposal. Consider all materials, preparations/mixtures. Besides chemical agents, consider also, for example, items like glues, materials used by maintenance such as oils, gardening materials, water treatment and cleaning materials.

Check to see whether any of your chemicals are subjected to any Restrictions or Authorisations under the REACH Regulation. Your chemical supplier can supply you with this information and must supply you with a safety data sheet, (SDS) which should be provided with each material. The SDS is a primary source of health and safety information. For example the SDS may have your use included in the attached exposure scenarios (ES). It will include occupational exposure limits where they exist or it may have derived no effect levels (DNELs).

Step Two

The second step is to consider who (groups of employees) might be affected and how the material/chemical might harm them. Recognise that some employees may need special consideration, for example, language needs of non-national workers, potential exposure of pregnant employees etc. While the employer is responsible for carrying out the risk assessment, employees should be involved.

Step Three

The third step is evaluating the risks and deciding on precautions. Write down what precautions you are already taking and apply the principles below in the following order to determine what additional precautions are required: Eliminate the substance or substitute a less hazardous chemical Prevent exposure, for example, by containment and use of local exhaust ventilation (Engineering controls) Organise work to reduce the number of employees that might be exposed. Challenge how processes are carried out. Are there smarter ways of carrying out an activity so that the potential for exposure is eliminated or reduced. As a back-up or final resort, issue personal protective equipment Provide welfare facilities (first-aid and washing facilities to remove contamination)

Step Four

The fourth step is to document and implement your findings. Write down your findings and discuss them with your employees. Consultation with your employees is necessary at every step and especially when implementing the findings of your chemicals risk assessment. Use this template to draw up an action plan, detailing who is responsible, for what action and when will it be carried out.

Step Five

As no workplace remains the same, the fifth step is to review your risk assessment at least once per year, and update if necessary. When changes such as new employees, machinery, equipment or materials occur in the workplace it is necessary to review the risk assessment. Change in work patterns such as overtime or shift work, the needs of pregnant/nursing employees and those with special needs must also be included. When you are finished, check with your chemical supplier to ensure that your use of the chemical is recorded in the Exposure Scenarios part of the Safety Data Sheet which is now required under the REACH Regulation.

– See more at The Health and Safety Authority of Ireland:

http://www.hsa.ie/eng/Your_Industry/Chemicals/Chemical_Agents/Risk_Assessment/#sthash.rO1jtrLJ.dpuf

Transfer of Highly Flammable Material

Following numerous incidents in both Ireland and the UK a solvent company have been prosecuted following an unsafe decanting operation that led to a large fire which completely engulfed its premises.

Chemical safety storage

Workers were transferring highly flammable materials from a bulk container into a smaller vessel. They were filling the drum using a pipe from the container but the pipe was too short. This meant dropping the material from the pipe into the drum which is known as “Splash Filling”. This process is known to generate static electricity which is a potential ignition source.

The flash point of the material being dispensed is just 4°C so when the incident occurred on a hot summers day there would have been a flammable vapour over its surface.

The build up of static electricity within the drum is thought to have ignited the vapour and sparked a fire which spread to a number of other drums containing flammable & solvent material in the area. Some of these drums exploded.

There were a number of employees in the area at the time of the incident but all managed to escape following an Emergency Drill call from a supervisor present. The emergency services were called and on there arrival the blaze was described as an “Inferno”.

An investigation into the incident found that the splash fill method used was inappropriate and posed a clear risk that wasn’t properly assessed. Employee safety was also compromised by the fact the pipe used was not earthed and the incorrect PPE was being worn.

Following the hearing the inspector said “Companies working with dangerous substances must take extreme care at all times and in all aspects of their operations. That clearly didn’t happen on this occasion and it could have had far-reaching consequences.”

Chemstore offer a Free Site Survey to assess the onsite dangers in both dispensing and storage of flammable materials. We will report our findings and recommend the correct process and storage which includes Emergency Spill Response, Eearthing and Storage of Flammable & Solvent materials.

[Book Free Site Survey Today]

The Importance of the Safety Data Sheet

Safety data sheets | chemical storage

Safety data sheets are the main tool for ensuring that manufacturers and importers communicate enough information along the supply chain to allow safe use of their substances and mixtures.

Safety data sheets include information about the properties of the substance, its hazards and instructions for handling, disposal and transport and also first-aid, fire-fighting and exposure control measures.

[Download our PDF Guide Here]

 

Chemical Storage Is A Matter Of Safety And Common Sense

There are many work situations where chemicals are routinely relied upon to get the job done. But just as important as the safe handling of these chemicals, is their safe storage. If not stored properly, chemicals can cause a fire, explosion or personal injury.

Awhile back a Chemical explosion in a distillery in Oldbury near Birmingham caused extensive damage, razing the factory to the ground, and resulted in massive collateral damage to surrounding properties. Storage and transfer of chemicals is seen to be a major contributing factor to this industrial accident which resulted in major financial losses to the company involved, but more importantly an enormous risk to the safety of employees and people in the vicinity of the building.

Explosion

The consequences of Chemical explosions, fires and spills due to improper storage have the potential to be devastating for any company. Chemstore are experts in the manufacture and supply of Chemical storage units with the ability to produce bunded stores catering for volumes ranging from 10 Litres to 20,000 litres.

Explosion1

 

 

 

 

 

 

We manufacture chemical storage compounds for much larger requirements; in fact, we can tailor any chemical storage unit to match the needs of our clients Why not avail of our Free Site Survey to ensure your company is compliant with current EPA regulations and legislation. Our highly experienced team will access your current chemical storage procedures and make recommendations as to how you can improve the safety of your facility. So why not contact us today and arrange a site visit, or speak to one of experienced sales team for advice to improve your chemical storage needs.

Ireland: sales@chemstore.ie Phone: 061 327792

UK: sales@chemstore.co.uk Phone: 208 704 1807

White House EO to Improve Safety and Security at Chemical Plants

imagesIn a Executive Order statement released by the White House earlier this month a number of key priorities are set to be enforced to improve safety and security at chemical plants across the United States.

As a result of the devastating blast at a Texas Fertilising Plant back in April, the US Government have made the following orders and its only a matter of time before the UK and Ireland follow suit.

 

 

Here are just some of the main points in the Executive Order:Texas Fire   

  • Establishment of the Chemical Facility Safety and Security Working Group
  • Improving Operational Coordination with State, Local, and Tribal Partners
  • Enhanced Federal Coordination
  • Enhanced Information Collection and Sharing
  • Policy, Regulation, and Standards Modernisation
  • Identification of Best Practices
  • General Provisions

Read Full Analysis Here

Read Original While House Statement Here

Tom Hanly’s Safety Tips

Tom Hanly’s Safety Tips