Presentation on theme: "Dangerous Substances and Risk Assessment"— Presentation transcript:
1 Dangerous Substances and Risk Assessment A European campaignon Risk Assessment
2 What are dangerous substances? Dangerous substances (DA):Are any liquids, gases or solids that pose a risk to workers’ health or safetyCan be found in nearly all workplaces, including in SMEs (farms, hairdresser’s shops, motor-cycle repair shops, hospitals, schools…)Include chemical as well as biological agents (bacteria, viruses, yeast and mould, parasites...)Include substances produced as a by-product of work, as well as raw materials (welding fumes, diesel exhaust, wood dust, flour used in bakeries…).
3 Dangerous substances and harm If the risks of using DS are not properly managed,workers’ health can be harmed in a variety of ways:Through a single short exposureThrough multiple exposuresThrough long-term accumulation of substances in the body.
4 Health effects DS can have many different health effects including: Acute effects: poisoning, suffocation, explosion and fireLong-term effects, for example:Respiratory diseases (reactions in the airways and lungs) such as asthma, rhinitis, asbestosis and silicosisOccupational cancers (leukaemia, lung cancer, mesothelioma, cancer of the nasal cavity)Health effects that can be both acute and long-term:Skin diseases, reproductive problems and birth defects, allergiesSome substances can accumulate in the bodySome substances can have a cumulative effectSome substances can penetrate through the skin
5 Dangerous Substances - the law Legislation in this field includes regulations on the protection of workers from the risks related to:Chemical agentsBiological agentsCarcinogens and mutagens (including asbestos and wood dust)Regulations on classification and labelling are equally important, but do not apply to all dangerous substances (e.g. hairdressing chemicals, pharmaceuticals)Restrictions on use and marketing are imposed on some substances and work procedures.You should seek clarification of the specific national legislation that may apply to you, relating to the use of DS in the workplace.
6 Other relevant legislation REACH European Community Regulation EC 1907/2006 creates a new, single system for the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals: Aims to do more to protect the environment and health of usersMakes industry more responsible for managing the risks from chemicals and providing safety information on substances to all who produce or use a substance.More on REACH:GHS – the United Nations Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals -will also have an impact on workers’ healthMore on GHS:
7 In a nutshell…By law, employers in the EU must protect their workers from being harmed by DS in the workplace.In order to protect workers from DS, employers are required by law to carry out a Risk Assessment (RA). Workers should be involved in this task.
8 What is Risk Assessment? Risk Assessment is the process of evaluating the risks to workers’ safety and health from workplace hazards. It is a systematic examination of all aspects of work that considers:What could cause injury or harmWhether hazards could be eliminated and, if not,What preventive or protective measures should be in place to control the risks.RA is the basis for successful safety and health management, the key to reducing occupational accidents and illnesses
9 Risk Assessment for DSRA for DS involves the same basic principles and processes as for other occupational risksWhoever carries out the RA it is essential that employees are consulted and involved in the process. They:Know their workplaceAre the ones who will have to implement any changes in working conditions/ practices.Different methods are available. But for most businesses, a straightforward five-step approach to RA works well.
10 Step 1: Identify hazards and those at risk (1) Look for substances that have the potential to cause harm, and identify any workers who may be exposed to the substancesParticular attention should be paid to groups of workers who may be at increased risk e.g:Young workersPregnant women and nursing mothersMigrant workersUntrained or inexperienced staffCleaners, contractors and members of the public.Reminder: a hazard can be anything — whether work materials, equipment, work methods or practices — that has the potential to cause harm.
11 Step 1: Identify hazards and those at risk (2) To help identify hazards:Make an inventory of substances used and generated in the workplaceCollect information about these substances e.g. the harm they can do and how this can happenStandardised safety labels, risk symbols, and safety data sheets (SDS), which must be provided by the supplier of a chemical, are important source of informationCheck the Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs) for the substancesOELs help to control exposure to DS in the workplace, by setting the maximum amount of (air) concentration of a substanceAssess whether you are using carcinogens or mutagens, for which more stringent rules applyFor more information see Facts 33 and Facts 35
12 Step 2: Evaluate and prioritise risks Assess workers’ exposure to DS that have been identified, looking at the type, intensity, length, frequency of exposure to workersConsider which work procedures are being usedConsider combined exposures to substancesConsider combined effects with other risks, for example:Fire risks near flammable substancesHeavy physical work that can increase the uptake of chemicals,Wet work that can increase the effect of chemicals on the skinThe list can then be used to draw up a action plan.Reminder: a risk is the chance, high or low, that somebody may be harmed by a hazard.
13 Step 3: Decide on preventive action (1) Follow the hierarchy of measures to prevent or reduce the exposure of workers to DS :Elimination – the best way to reduce the risks associated with DSRemove the need to use the DS by changing the process or product in which the substance is usedSubstitution – if elimination is not possibleSubstitute or replace the DS with non-hazardous or less hazardous alternatives
14 Step 3: Decide on preventive action (2) Control - if a substance or process cannot be eliminated or substitutedPrevent or reduce the exposure through:Enclosure of the process that results in DS being emittedControl of the emission at the sourceBetter management of processesTechnical solutions to minimise exposureReducing the number of workers exposed to the dangerous substance, and the duration and intensity of exposureWhere exposure cannot be prevented by other means, ensure that individuals have suitable personal protective equipment and are trained in its use.
15 Substitution – work processes Start with substances and work processes that:Have already caused problems in your enterprise (health problems, accidents or other incidents)Make regular health monitoring (such as medical examination of workers) necessaryAre covered by specific national regulations imposing restrictions of use in the workplaceLead to high levels of exposure among workers, or result in exposure to many workers.Work processes to consider include:Open processes, e.g. painting large surfaces, mixing/compounding in open containers/vesselsProcesses that generate dusts, vapours or fumes, or that disperse liquids in the air, e.g. welding, paint-spraying.
16 Substitution – substances Substances to consider include those that:Increase the risk of fire and explosionAre volatile, e.g. organic solvents, or that are dispersed in the air (aerosols, dust)Cause acute health risks, e.g. poisons, corrosives and irritantsCause chronic health risks, e.g. allergens, substances that affect reproductionCause occupational diseasesCan be absorbed through the skinMake the use of personal protective equipment (e.g. inhalation protection)necessary.For more information see Facts 34
17 Carcinogens and mutagens Regulations for carcinogens and mutagens impose more stringent requirements:Carcinogenic and mutagenic substances must be replaced as far as technically possibleEnclosure of the emitting process is mandatory if it is technically feasableWorkers‘ access must be restrictedMore detailed records must be kept on workers‘ exposure, and the must be kept for longerMore information must be given to workers on exposure and health monitoring.You should seek clarification of the specific national legislation that may apply to you, regarding the use of DS in the workplace
18 Step 4: Take action Put in place preventive and protective measures Effective implementation involves the development of a plan that specifies:Who does whatWhen a task is to be completedThe means allocated to implement the measuresWhen the assessment will be revised and by whomIt is essential that any work to eliminate, substitute or controls risks is prioritised.
19 Step 5: Monitor and review The effectiveness of preventive measures should be monitoredThe assessment should be reviewed whenever significant changes occur in the organisation:When there are changes in the work procedureWhen new chemicals and work procedures are introducedWhen accidents or health problems occurOn a periodic basis, to ensure that the findings of the RA are still valid.
20 Record the AssessmentThe Risk Assessment must be documented, such a record can be used to:Pass information to the persons concernedAssess whether the necessary measures have been introducedProvide evidence for supervisory authoritiesRevise measures if circumstances change.
21 Advice for workersTo keep safe in relation to DS, workers should be kept informed about:The findings of the RAThe hazards they are exposed toHow they may be affectedWhat they have to do to keep themselves and others safeWhat to do in case of an accident or when things go wrongHow to know when things go wrongWho they should report any problems toWhat to do when carrying out maintenance workThe results of any exposure monitoring or health surveillance.
22 Advice to employers: communication Good communication between employer and worker includes:Having a list of hazardous substances that are used or generated through the work processHaving Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and similar documents available for each DS usedProducing work instructions based on information about DSMaking sure that containers for DS are clearly labelledCommunicating the results of the RARegularly asking workers about potential health and safety problemsProviding workers with all relevant information, instruction and training on the DS present in the workplace.
23 Good for you. Good for business. Good for you. Good for business.A European campaignon Risk Assessment