Hazardous Substances Risk Assessment Input Forms
Hazardous substances used in the workplace will and often have caused harm to the health of employees and others not directly associated with the activities, where exposure has not been properly controlled. Exposure may cause short or long-term health problems. It can be many years before symptoms become apparent, and even more difficult to relate them back to an individual’s historical work activities.
Hazardous substances themselves cover a surprisingly large spectrum of materials, and not all are man-made and many are the result of processes applied to inert materials (i.e. drilling operations). A few common examples are listed below
ØOils and greases
ØGlues and adhesives
ØPaints and varnishes
ØPetrol and diesel
ØSand and cement
ØSubstances generated during work activities (e.g. fumes from soldering and welding or dust from grinding)
ØNaturally occurring substances (e.g. grain dust)
ØSewage and effluent
and many, many other substances.
Examples of the effects of hazardous substances include:
Øskin irritation or dermatitis as a result of skin contact
Øasthma as a result of developing allergy to substances used at work
Ølosing consciousness as a result of being overcome by toxic fumes
Øcancer, which may appear long after the exposure to the chemical that caused it, and
Øinfection from bacteria and other micro-organisms (biological agents).
A hazardous material safety data sheet should be supplied with any hazardous substance at its delivery location. MSDS sheets should always be available to all members of staff and others who may require to handle, move or use the hazardous substance, etc.
The MSDS contains guidelines on what should be done if the hazardous substance accidentally comes into contact with your skin, your eyes, or is ingested orally or possibly absorbed through the skin. It will also include other safety precautions such as what to do about spillages or leaks. Warning labels will be used to classify the types of hazard, such as irritant, flammable, very flammable, toxic, very toxic, corrosive, explosive, sensitising, dangerous to the environment, etc
The following is a useful list of, Do’s and Don'ts for Chemical Handling;
ØDo check the container label before using,
ØDo use appropriate protective clothing and equipment,
ØDo open containers carefully, in a well ventilated area (beware of pressure building up in containers),
ØDo know and understand the hazards of the chemical you are using,
ØDo make sure your actions are authorised by your supervisor and or manager,
ØDo understand COSHH Risk Assessment detail and work safely to ensure minimum risk for yourself, your colleagues and others who may be affected,
ØDo clean up minor spillages,
ØDo ensure you report major spillages,
ØIf in doubt consult with your supervisor and or manager.
ØDon’t use chemicals if the container labels are missing or damaged so that key information is illegible,
ØDon’t use contaminated or unsuitable mixing or measuring equipment,
ØDon’t eat, drink or smoke when handling or using chemicals.
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