Chemicals are one of the most common types of hazardous substances. A variety of frequently used products contain chemicals, such as cleaning products, pesticides and paint.
Many organisations use some of these substances on a regular basis. As such, it’s important for employers to take necessary precautions to protect employees, contractors and others who may spend time at the premises.
When using chemicals at the workplace, organisations should take the following steps:
Furthermore, employees should be trained to take the following precautions:
For many organisations, chemical products are a necessary part of daily operations. However, it’s important that employers and workers do not become complacent or irresponsible.
Chemicals may cause a variety of health problems, including burns, asthma, allergic reactions, dermatitis and cancer. In addition to severe health risks for workers, employers that do not take proper precautions with chemicals may be found to be in violation of the Control of Hazardous Substances to Health Regulations 2002.
P&D Engineering Limited has been fined £62,334 after an incident during which an employee’s ponytail became wrapped around a rotating drill. The woman experienced life changing injuries, including having part of her ear and scalp torn off. The injuries resulted in nine surgeries and the amputation of the damaged ear. An HSE investigation found that the rotating parts of the drill were not properly guarded. Furthermore, the HSE found that P&D Engineering’s own risk assessment deemed a guard necessary, but the drill continued to be used without one for years. The organisation pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and, in addition to the aforementioned fine, was ordered to pay costs of £1,459.90.
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