Chemical is a composition of pure substances combined in a definite proportion (Bretherick & Pitt, 2007). Some Substances involved in making of chemicals are soluble to others when given a certain solvent such as water in ethanol whereby they produce a chemical reaction. In the event of reaction substances are transformed from one state to another state. Consumption of chemicals is usually heavy in industries where different manufacturing of products is done. These products include fertilizers, plastics, fiber glass, pesticides and many home-based products. However, it is important to exercise care in use of chemicals. Some chemicals are naturally so hazardous that they have to be kept differently unique containers to evade contact with air. Others may seem safe but can result to injury upon contact. Chemicals may pose to bring about the following hazards: fire, explosions, poisoning, reaction, corrosion and other radioactivity side effects. Other assessments in use of chemicals include the dangers that can also be brought to others and the environmental effects. Hazards from chemicals depend on a number of factors such as the composition and physical properties, frequency of use and the amount used in the application of the intended purposes (Johnson, Rudy & Unwin, 2003). The essay believes that reactive hazards are serious concerns that should be better controlled by the chemical industry and better regulated by the regulating bodies.
Chemicals are grouped according to their physical status at normal temperature that is, solid, liquid or gas. Another classification depends on chemistry such as organic or inorganic. Inorganic composition is mostly solid in nature while organic composition is mostly liquid in state. Once the chemical compositions are known, it is important to identify the hazards it poses and take preventive and controlled measures in preventing the possibilities of any possible hazards. Bretherick & Pitt (2007) defined hazard as a situation or an entity that is capable of causing harm to users, environments and damage of properties.
Identification and Management of Hazards
Johnson, Rudy & Unwin (2003) indicated that the risk management is the responsibility of companies involved in identifying all the chemicals that are used, handled, stored or generated at workplace while consulting employees. The characteristics of chemicals in use are usually determined by looking at the label and other manuals, and reading what ingredients are in each chemical or product. Classification of chemicals in a manufacturing plant is essential in establishing the hazards of a chemical against specified criteria. Classification is, therefore, an element that determines what information is included on the labels, label elements, hazardous information and pictograms (Bretherick & Pitt, 2007). Then the Authorities puts in place standards that requires traders and manufacturers to give clear directions through labels and that these instructions are reviewed whenever required in ensuring that the consumers are protected.
Traders, manufacturer and suppliers, may also provide further details of the chemical in use, in simpler explanations to the consumer whereby, this information is sourced from Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS) databases. Hazardous chemicals that are used as elements of the production process, such as a piping system, should be known to ensure that necessary controls are available in the event of an accidental burst, leakage, repairs and or cleaning is required. Consumers are required always read the label in order to identify all chemical hazards. In other instances, product specification sheets provide elaborative details of the types of dangerous chemicals produced during the manufacturing processes, or from other information resources such as codes of practice or supportive documents on the process (Johnson, Rudy & Unwin, 2003).
Documentation about the product should show information on the identity of the product, any hazardous components, possible health effects, toxicological characteristics, and physical dangers, how to use, handle and store, emergency procedures, and disposal procedures in relation to the chemical products. Where there is no documentation on the product, the consumer should contact the manufacturer or trader (Johnson & Unwin, 2003).
Domestic chemicals such as detergents and known to be safe, but may present greater risks in the workplace depending on the way and amount that is being used. This is particularly important, for example, where domestic cleaning chemicals are bought from a supermarket, consumers should always follow label directions which include the familiarity with some basic symbols as shown below:
Meaning: Flammable Toxic Warning
In case, the container, is unknown it should be labeled by giving some information such as ‘Caution – do not use: unknown substance.’ The contents should be stored in an isolation location until its well identified and appropriately labeled otherwise it should be disposed away according to waste management authorities requirements.
According to Johnson, Rudy & Unwin (2003), risk assessments are not compulsory task hazardous chemicals under the World Health Standards Regulations Act, but it is useful for companies in identifying which employees are at risk of contact to chemicals. Once identified, the company determines what sources and processes are causing that risk and what kind of control measures should be employed. Assessment can be conducted by checking the success of existing control measures in comparison to the degree of that risk. Whereas, risk assessment is useless in conditions that are well-known and have fine established and accepted control measures. For instance, where there are fewer amounts of chemical usage hazards and risks are well identified.
The manufacturing companies must protect and equip workers with necessary tools and protective clothing. Protection assists employees not to be exposed to air contaminations that are above the contact standards of that substance or mixture. Air condition checkups are far important in ensuring that employees are not subjected to airborne concentrations higher than the chemical’s exposure levels.
Control procedures seek to eliminate the hazard and associated risk where some are more effective than others. Depending on the degree of hazard is usually minimized through Substitution, Isolation, Implementing engineering controls.
Administrative controls are considered as routine practices such as the use of suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) that helps in minimizing risks. Administrative preventive measures and PPE depends on human behaviors, administration or when used on their own, they tend to be the least effective ways of minimizing risks (Bretherick & Pitt, 2007).
Engineering regulations should be applied in ensuring that the physical operations are flowing well and as required. There should be a routine checkups and maintenance of machines by the company to eliminate other product contaminations in the event of spills and leaks. For example, use of exhaust ventilation or automation of processes. More so, engineering controls are monitored and must comply with regulatory laws (.
Supervision, training and regular follow-ups should provide to make sure that administrative controls are effectively realized. Information, instruction and training must be offered simple and precise way that is easily understood. Details of the information and extent of training depends on the characteristics of the hazards, density of the actions to be used and control measures required minimizing the risks. Records of training given to workers must be kept, documented, staffs involved, when and what was taught.
Emergency and Safety
Disaster preparedness is a vital element in minimizing the potentials of any dangerous occurrence at a workplace resulting from handling of hazardous chemicals. For companies that use, handle and store greater quantities of hazardous chemicals, it is helpful to give a copy of emergency plans and procedures of steps to use in the occurrence of an alarm or emergency state to neighboring Authorities whose responsibilities is to handle these situations. Emergency authorities include fire brigade, health providers, police and ambulance.
Emergency authorities are best suited to outsourced firms services in a time of tragedies. For instance, is the responsibility of water supply companies to guarantee a constant water supply to its consumers and also ensuring that enough water storage containers are put in place. Where adequate supply of water is not available from main suppliers, it may be necessary to increase additional water storage and/or pumps. Authorities are responsible in overseeing the company’s operations, protecting of environments and ensuring that manufacturing companies adhere to laws of business operations.
Supervisors have to ensure that safety equipment are provided, installed in accordance with manufacturers prerequisites, maintained and readily accessible at the workplace. To ensure that alarms stay useful, responsible organization should be conducting occasional testing of installing gadgets.
Johnson, R. W., Rudy, S. W., & Unwin, S. D. (2003). Essential practices for managing chemical reactivity hazards. New York: Center for Chemical Process Safety of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
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