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When you do a chemical risk assessment, look for these five things

by , 14 July 2014
Chemical burns to the skin... Burns to the mouth, throat, oesophagus or lungs... Damage to the eyes and eventual blindness...

These are all injuries your employees can suffer when they work with chemicals. If you haven't given them any way to protect themselves this is the fate you've sentenced your employees to.

This isn't something you or them should ever have to live with. To ensure you provide your employees with the right protection they need from the chemicals they work with, do a full risk assessment...

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Take this quick quiz to find out if you can handle the DoL hot seat
Which risk assessments have to be checked by an approved inspector every two years?
Is it absolutely necessary for your company to appoint and train someone as a risk assessor?
When was the last time you did a risk assessment? (Is that too long?)
Have you checked and double checked the less obvious health hazards?

If you can't answer even one of these questions you're not only putting your employee's lives at risk; you're also putting yourself in danger of massive fine from the DoL.
Don't wait until it's too late.

Watch how your employees work with the chemicals to determine the risks they face

The only way you'll ever really know what risks your employees face is to watch them work. Otherwise, you're just guessing when it comes to your safety precautions. 
When you watch your employees, you'll identify a number of problems, such as, do your employees know how to handle the chemicals safely? Do they store them properly?
These are things you won't find out if you stay in your office. 
And if you're worried you'll miss something, get your health and safety representative involved. Two sets of eyes are always better than one when it comes to spotting chemical hazards.

Five things you must look for when you do a chemical risk assessment

When you do a chemical risk assessment look for:
1. The kind of chemicals your employees work with (a chemical like chlorine is dangerous, but not as deadly as something like sodium cyanide);
2. They way your employees handle them. (Do they carelessly move them around or treat them gingerly);
3. Where do they work with the chemicals? (If they work somewhere with a slippery floor, they could fall and spill the chemicals on themselves);
4. How do they store the chemicals? (Do they ensure the lids are sealed properly and put the containers in sealed cabinet?); and
5. Is the equipment they use to handle the chemicals in good condition? (Rusty equipment could break or give way and lead to your employees spilling the chemicals).
Keeping your eyes out for these things can help you determine how serious the risk is so you can put proper chemical safety in place.
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