Chemicals are extensively used in our daily life as well as in the industries. They are as hazardous as essential hence Chemical Safety Review Audits are an indispensable part of risk management systems.
The review takes a brief survey of possible chemical hazards and the control measures implanted to bring risk to an admissible level. It is an effective way of managing the preventive measures for chemical safety management systems.
While Chemical Safety Review Audits, an inspection team conduct site inspection for scheduled preventive maintenance, entire testing of chemical containers and safety equipments. A safety review audit reckons up all the angles of the system with special prominence both on quality and quantity on every level.
WHEN TO CONDUCT CHEMICAL SAFETY REVIEW AUDITS?
Generally, 3 ways are followed.
- PERIODIC INSPECTION AND SAFETY AUDITS
It needs a very strict and keen review to detect pigeon holes in the safety system and recommend them to amend.
- AFTER ACCIDENTS OR ON REQUEST OR AFTER NATURAL DISASTERS
After some incidents, the company requests a review for investigation.
Natural disasters, rigorous weather conditions might also trigger a review to make sure about any undesirable damage to outdoor chemical storage.
- TRAILING CHANGES AT THE WORKSITE
At some turnovers, the risk level increases. Innovation, expansion or resettlement of the industry, installation of new equipments or storage facilities, changes into work methods, or in safety systems might give rise to accidents. Safety review audits must be done in these cases.
WHO SHOULD CONDUCT CHEMICAL SAFETY REVIEW AUDITS?
A selective INSPECTION TEAM should be invited for a review audit.
- The inspection team must be selective. It consists of managers, supervisors, WHS ( Workplace Health and Safety) representatives, professional consultants, and also external safety auditors.
- Team members must be skilled and with deliberate intention to observe.
- They should know what to look for and should not be satisfied with the prime impression. A clean & safe looking site may contain hidden hazards.
- They should keep an open mind to accept facts and come to proper conclusions without prejudging it.
- To understand habits and knowledge of management, team members should frequently use “why, when, where, what ” questions during an audit. It will help to reveal the real situation.
- To review up to date Checklist for obstructions, handling of risky equipments and flammables
- Date Wise systematic observations should be recorded with comments on action taken with its results.
REVIEW FOR INDIVIDUAL CONTROL MEASURES
In conformity with the Hierarchy Of Control in a graphic by “NIOSH (National Institute For Occupational Safety and Health, U.S.)” following safety measures are taken into consideration,
- ELIMINATION AND SUBSTITUTION MEASURES
Following up safety audits that eliminate the hazards, the hazardous procedures or chemicals are completely removed from the workplace.
On substitution of them with other safety methods and chemicals, A review is essential to ensure that substituted procedure or material is effective and compatible and not able to create any new hazard.
- ISOLATION CONTROLS
Workers have to handle chemicals for maintenance and cleaning purposes. Try to reduce the number of enclosure of workers with hazardous chemicals.
- ENGINEERING CONTROLS
The astringent review is essential for mechanical devices, equipments, and machines. It also includes preventive maintenance of ductwork, ventilation, and breathing zones of workers.
- ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROLS
Though the staff is well trained for chemical safety, their working procedure is maintained effectively only if the regular review is done for
- Restriction for unauthorized staff, contractors, or employees in working areas.
- Handling of flammable liquids by untrained staff.
- Schedule for workers, time for exposure to chemicals.
- Poor storage procedures such as wear and tear of equipments, open lid or leakage from containers, improper mixing of chemicals.
- PERSONAL PROTECTION EQUIPMENTS (PPE)
PPEs are temporary barriers between workers and chemicals. Their safety review is highly coveted to ensure that they are actually offering protection.
Aspects to consider while safety review of PPE
- Unfit to worker
- Damaged, broken or missing parts
- left lying around unhygienically
- Damaged by dust, vermin or water
- Training of workers to use PPE
Regular “Chemical Safety Review Audits” for the control measures put in place is a prime requirement to ensure that they work as planned. Don’t wait until something goes wrong.”
Conducting regular safety audits, employers will have assurity and confidence in a safe workplace for their workers.
An employer should be prudent that “Chemical Safety Review Audits” must not become a mere ‘tick and flick’ exercise but it should be more objective than daily inspection.
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