How To Manage Hazardous Substances In The Workplace
- 28 Jun 2022
Everyone can’t have a view of the mountains from their desk. Some people go to work every day in a hazardous environment like a workshop, warehouse, or factory. Although no one wants to voluntarily submit themselves to these risks, they come as part of the job description.
Products that contain hazardous chemicals, for example, are included in many items people use every day, and at some stage, workers must make them. It’s up to the employer and the team members to ensure that everyone remains safe during the process.
Companies that deal with these hazards will have to put a safety plan in place, which all workers should adhere to for their protection. There are a number of aspects surrounding the hazardous substances that businesses should consider managing correctly in the workplace:
1. Isolating The Process From Others
One of the first things a company should do is to restrict access to any hazardous materials. Accidents are less likely when fewer people are exposed to them. Companies should strictly enforce these rules to prevent harmful or dangerous substances from causing injuries.
Most workplaces with these substances lock them away in cupboards or other areas where they can be secured. Hence, granting limited access to workers who need to use them during their working hours is an important safety precaution.
On the other hand, there are other means of securing hazardous substances. Companies can find more information on these methods by discussing them with a health and safety professional.
2. Ensure The Area Is Well Ventilated
Specialized heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems should be in place in all areas that use hazardous substances. This is because some standard systems aren’t efficient enough to handle the strength of some chemicals. Thus, companies should ensure to install the correct ventilation options for the specific materials they’re dealing with regularly.
By reducing the risk of inhalation, the ventilation system protects the workers’ health. Although the HVAC system by itself isn’t enough for proper protection, it plays a huge part in managing the safety of hazardous substances.
3. Managing Spillages And Leaking
There should be a trained team member in the health and safety risks of hazardous substances that can do frequent risk assessments for the workplace. Identifying the various dangers before they cause problems saves the company time and money overall.
Instead of being reactive, it’s best to be proactive when it comes to the handling of hazardous substances. Ensure a plan is in place to manage spillage or leaking of substances before it happens.
4. Rotate Workers For Limited Exposure
Depending on the type of hazardous substance workers must deal with daily, there should be an appropriate schedule to limit their exposure. Not only does this keep workers from developing health conditions, but it also ensures that they remain alert enough to follow the safety measures.
Workers are under extra pressure when having to concentrate on handling the hazardous substance correctly, which could fatigue them quicker than other employees. Regularly rotating the teams will prevent human errors that could be the result of fatigue.
5. Provide Team Members With Training
Training provides the necessary insight for workers to realize when there are dangers around them and how to deal with them effectively. Because each hazardous substance will have specific metrics for safe handling, workers should be aware of these before working with them.
Meanwhile, team members who are aware of the risks and know the importance of safety are significant assets to the company. They’ll protect themselves and the other workers while efficiently and safely carrying out their duties.
Training also helps team members learn what to do in the event of an emergency. Therefore, employers are responsible for making sure that their workers get the right training so that they can handle these substances safely.
6. Always Use Protective Gear
Safety equipment is designed specifically for the type of substance that an employee will be working with during their shift. For dangerous chemicals and inhalable hazards, workers would have to wear masks and face coverings, for example.
Protective equipment such as specialized gloves, body suits, and safety shoes will reduce the worker’s direct contact with the hazardous substance. This could also save their lives if they wear them correctly. It’s the responsibility of the company to provide these team members with the gear needed to remain safe.
Gearing It Up
For some team members, working with hazardous substances is unavoidable. If they remember their safety measures, wear their protective gear, and handle the substances responsibly, they significantly diminish their risk for injury.
Injuries from hazardous substances can be fatal. It’s critical that both workers and employers take safety precautions seriously. Hence, managing the risk factors depends on the teamwork between workers and the company. Each remains responsible for their part in safely handling hazardous substances in the workplace.