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Why you must have a written safety procedure in place when working with HCS

by , 30 March 2015
Hazardous chemical substances (HCS) are one of the most risky safety situations. And that's why today we're giving you the reasons for having a written safety procedure in case your employees have to work with them.

When you introduce a written safety work procedure for staff who work with chemicals, include these four instructions.

Four things your written HCS safety procedure much include

1. The HCS must be safely handled, used and disposed of by wearing proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and following the instructions.

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2. All machinery, installations, equipment, tools and extraction and general ventilation systems must be safely used and maintained in a good working condition – servicing and maintenance must be done regularly.

3. Machinery and work areas must be kept clean – housekeeping, cleaning up after each job is completed.

4. Early corrective action can easily and readily be identified –  report anything unsafe while you are working, don't wait until after you have finished.

Also, you must make sure that the emission of a HCS into the atmosphere complies with the requirements of the National Environmental Management – Air Quality Act 39 of 2004.

Moreover, if there's a recommended legal limit of exposure, make sure the amount of exposure is reduced to below this limit by providing adequate PPE

You also have to use PPE to protect employees from HCS exposure!

On this subject, however, we also want to mention the two rules you must comply with if you can't control exposure:

1. For airborne HCS, provide suitable respiratory protective equipment and protective clothing to employees.

2. For HCS that can be absorbed through the skin, provide suitable HCS resistant protective equipment to employees' e.g. industrial gloves.

If you can't control exposure then you need to provide suitable respiratory protective equipment.

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