Safety at Work

2 steps you need to follow when dealing with potentially hazardous chemical substances in the workplace

If your company works with potentially hazardous chemical substances, then you have to be extremely careful! Because one little error can lead to:

  • your employees falling gravely ill or becoming badly injured; or
  • your equipment becoming written off.
So in order to help you deal with potentially hazardous chemical substances in the workplace, here are 2 vital steps you have to follow...

Step#1: Identify all substances in the workplace

The first step would be to identify all substances that are used when performing any task in your workplace.

To do this:

  • go through inventory and stock lists;
  • look at all areas where substances are used or stored;
  • consider what substances may be let off as intermediates; and
  • look into any substances that can be let off by working on certain areas. An example could be asbestos from buildings.

Step#2: Look into the risk

If you've identified a potential risk here, you must determine if any hazardous substance has in fact been released into the workplace.

To do this, look for:

  1. any evidence of splashes of the substance, or any other possible effects associated with the substance in question;
  2. any evidence of contamination. This includes symptoms experienced by employees; and
  3. any patterns in previous Health Survey and Occupational Hygiene results.
NOTE: If you find that one of your employees has been exposed to a hazardous chemical substance, then you must follow this up with medical surveillance.

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Alexandr Grigorev

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