When asked about the potential risk of a disaster in his shipping career, Captain of the Titanic EJ Smith said “it will never happen to me”.
It’s very easy to put off safety improvements until a problem actually occurs.
Hazardous and dangerous materials can pose a serious threat like fires, explosions, toxic release, employee injuries or fatalities.
If a workplace chemical disaster happened right now, would you be held liable? Did you do enough to meet your Duty of Care?
Safety legislation requires employers to exercise a duty of care for all hazardous and dangerous materials.
Any breach with a Duty of Care means you as the business owner or manager, could face litigation risk and possible prosecution.
Lets break down the basics:
Hazardous substances – Where employee exposure, can result in adverse effect on health e.g. cancer
Dangerous goods – substances which present a hazard to people, environment or the property, due to their toxicity, chemical or physical properties.
Tips for business owners or manager with this concern?
Obtain a copy of relevant legislation, standards, and codes of practice or industry guidelines for managing dangerous and hazardous substances.
Audit review of all hazardous and dangerous substances. Record container amounts for each class/division and packing group of each substance and storage location. Do not store incompatible substances together e.g. Dangerous Goods Segregation Chart
Establish a risk register for all hazardous and dangerous substances with easy access for employees or emergency services.
Ensure your Safety Data Sheet (SDS) information is available for all hazardous or dangerous substances, and complete a risk review of each substance onsite.
Keep your chemicals or substances in approved storage facilities e.g. national standards
Keep appropriate resources onsite including: PPE, spills kits, firefighting equipment, HAZCHEM signage and employee emergency plans.
Make sure all dangerous and hazardous substances are clearly labelled.
Evaluate and document risk controls for all hazardous and dangerous substances.
Ensure all employees are trained, competent and authorised in the handling, storage and use of dangerous and hazardous substances onsite. Evaluate and review all employee training.
Carry out ongoing audits/ reviews for the handling and use of hazardous and dangerous substances.
If you have any questions about hazardous and dangerous substances in your workplace and looking for a solution then contact Mark Hamon at www.risku.com.au