Exposure to chemicals is 100 per cent preventable. Without the proper controls, they can cause cancer, respiratory illnesses, skin and eye irritations, and fire and explosion-related injuries.
There are literally thousands of hazardous chemicals used in the workplace – paints, pesticides, cleaners and fuels, to name a few. They come in various forms – powders, solids, liquids and gases.
You must manage health and safety risks when storing, handling or using hazardous chemicals at a workplace by using the hierarchy of controls.
This video demonstrates what to consider when applying the hierarchy and how to go about choosing the appropriate controls.
You should review your chemical management strategies and use controls higher in the hierarchy in combination with lower level controls for the greatest effect.
You should also ensure that your workers receive training and supervision and consider the risks associated with storage, handling and disposal.
Through the implementation of the Hazardous chemicals and materials exposures baseline reduction strategy, the level and impact of workplace exposures to hazardous chemicals will be identified and reduced.
A priority list of 100 chemicals, based on national and international research has been developed, in which formaldehyde and crystalline silica rank first and second.
Read the codes of practice for more information on how to manage work health and safety risks and managing risks of hazardous chemicals in the workplace.