Labelling of all dangerous substances used is very important. Persons transporting or handling them may not be aware of their nature, hazards, and the necessary precautions to be used. A label is an essential requirement to identify the contents and to warn of the hazard.
Most dangerous substances can be adequately classified as either explosive, flammable, toxic, corrosive or radioactive. Labelling should be clear and visible and kept wherever the substances are stored or used.
Due to lack of space the information on the label on each container is often incomplete. therefore, necessary to draw up more detailed information in the form of instructions for u safety instructions.
These should contain simple and clear information on
- The most important characteristics of the product.
- Risks involved in handling the product.
- Preventive safety measures.
- Suitable safety equipment.
- Action to be taken in the event of an accident, first aid instructions, fire or spillage precautions.
It is important that people working with chemicals receive information on the risks health, training in how they should protect themselves and how they should wear and for personal protective equipment. Each person working with dangerous substances should be provided with written instruction containing illustrations. Safety instruction information brochures should be easily accessible at the workplace. This information must be shared with all individuals that may come into contact with the substance.
The storage and transportation of chemicals and handling of chemical wastes
Every company should have written information on how chemical products should be stored and transported and how chemical wastes should be treated. If one dangerous substance comes into contact with another, e.g. in the event of a leak or a fire, dangerous gases can form. Such substances should not, therefore, be stored near each other.
Principles of technical measures
For the safe handling chemicals it is necessary to take several preventive measures. First, eliminate whenever possible very hazardous chemicals from the workplace. Secondly, limit the chances of working with hazardous chemicals. If this is not possible, prevent exposure to the substances by using suitable ventilation and personal protective equipment.
Exchanging substances and materials
Find out if it is possible to replace a dangerous substance with a less dangerous one. In some cases it may be difficult to find replacement products. In that case, it may be useful to look at alternative production processes that can be done without using such substances. Specifications in the manufacture of products such as paints, varnishes and adhesives, are now more frequently calling for water base rather than solvent base. Instead of using powdered substances which produce dangerous dusts, the same substances can be manufactured in pellet form.
The most effective way of reducing the risks atmospheric pollution is to enclose the entire process. If this is not possible, then the polluted air must be extracted. Extraction and encapsulation often need to be supplemented by increased ventilation. Different types of covers with built-in extractors can be connected to tools and some hand-operated machines. Both covers and booths can be used for stationary grinders and buffing machines. The problem with booths it that the wider the opening the more difficult it to get the extractor to work effectively.
The worker should therefore, also use the personal protective equipment even though a booth may be provided. An air curtain system can be arranged for baths of dangerous liquids. The air is blown in under pressure from one side and extracted from the other, thereby screening the worker from the dangerous vapours. A difficult problem is preventing dust and gas accumulation in welding. There are a number of smaller ventilation units now available which can either be connected to the central air extraction plant or are portable.
All technical equipment should be well maintained. In order for a ventilation system to work effectively, the filters should be changed regularly, the fans and ducts/pipes should be checked, gaskets/washers replaced and valves inspected.
Ventilation in car plants and workshops
In order to reduce the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning in garages and car workshops, engines should not be kept running more than is absolutely necessary to get the vehicle in and out of the workshop, or move it around inside the workshop.
In other cases where the motor is kept running (during repairs, tuning adjustments or testing) the exhaust gases should be extracted away from the worker and released outside the workshop. This can be done by attaching the exhaust to a hose or pipe which leads the gases directly outside or to a suction drum connected to the air extraction system in the workshop. It goes without saying that such workshops should also have an adequate ventilation system. Since carbon monoxide replaces oxygen, a filter type respirator may not be effective if there is no way to remove the carbon monoxide gas. When running a motor in a garage or car workshop the exhaust gases should be conducted out into the open air.