Ensure chemical safety with the right equipment

Friday, 07 May, 2021

Ensure chemical safety with the right equipment

SafeWork SA has reminded businesses that handle chemicals in the workplace to ensure that their equipment is compatible with the substances being handled. This follows a January 2021 incident in which a worker was decanting an acidic liquid and noticed that the plastic tap on the drum was leaking. When attempting to tighten the cap, the assembly failed, causing acid to spill onto the worker and leading to the worker sustaining chemical burns to the arms and legs. A contributing factor to the incident was that the seal of the tap was incompatible with the chemical being decanted.

Similar incidents have occurred in 2020, where workers have been injured decanting corrosive and flammable liquids. To prevent similar incidents, businesses must ensure that the equipment used for handling chemicals is suitable for the chemical being handled. Businesses should consider the type of material the equipment is constructed from and its compatibility with the chemical being handled.

Businesses should also establish a safe system of work for handling chemicals, with emergency procedures in case of spills. Workers must also be adequately trained and inducted for the task being performed and for chemical hazards in general.

SafeWork SA has developed a Code of Practice to provide practical guidance for businesses about handling hazardous chemicals in the workplace.

Image credit: ©Kadmy/Dollar Photo Club

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