On 1 December 2017 new hazardous substances regulations were introduced on the safe handling and management of hazardous substances in the workplace. If you make, handle, use or store hazardous substances everyone in your business is expected to know what substances they are working with, the risks they pose, and how to manage those risks.
Steps to Meeting the New Hazardous Substances Rules:
- INVENTORY. Keep a detailed list of all hazardous substances used, handled, manufactured or stored in your workplace.
- SDS. You must get a safety data sheet from your supplier for each hazardous substance in your workplace. These must be easily available to workers, emergency services or anyone else who is likely to be exposed to the substance.
- DO A RISK ASSESSMENT. Can you do without any of the hazardous substances in your workplace? Or could you substitute for a safer product? If not, think about exposure of your workers to these substances – how can you remove or minimise any risks?
- TRAIN YOUR WORKERS. You must give every worker appropriate information, instruction, training and supervision relating to the hazardous substance to ensure they can safely carry out their work.
- PREPARE FOR AN EMERGENCY. For most substances the new law require you to create a plan outlining how you will deal with a hazardous substances emergency at your workplace. Think about what you and your workers will do if something goes wrong.
- CORRECTLY LABEL HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES. This includes hazardous waste.
- PUT UP WARNING SIGNS. Put up signs where hazardous substances are used and stored at your workplace. These let your workers and visitors know they must take care or steer clear — and alert emergency services to the type of substances on-site if there’s an incident. Signs must be clearly visible and let people know that hazardous substances are present, the general type of hazard and what to do in an emergency.
- MAKE SURE STORAGE AREAS AND CONTAINERS ARE SAFE. Store only what you need, make sure incompatible substances are kept separate, use containers appropriate for the substance, and label everything clearly.
- TAKE CARE WITH HAZARDOUS WASTE. If waste from manufacturing and industrial operations is hazardous you must treat it in the same way as any substance with similar hazards. This includes:
- recording it in your inventory
- correctly storing and labelling it
- making sure staff working with it have the knowledge, experience and supervision to do so safely
- disposing of it appropriately.
- PROVIDE PPE. You must make sure workers handling hazardous substances have suitable protective clothing and equipment.
It is important to manage the risks associated with hazardous substances and to review what you have in place. Follow the above steps to keep your workers, visitors and you healthy and safe around hazardous substances.
If you need help understanding the new regulations and checking whether or not you are compliant, we can help! Get in touch via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Chrissy on 027 518 1234.