Business 2000
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Seventh edition
                                        HEALTH AND SAFETY

                                                                                                                                              Routes of Entry of Dangerous                                                                                The Restaurant – Example One
                                                                                                                                                Substances into the body
           Chemical safety in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Patrick works in a restaurant washing dishes. He is responsible for loading and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               unloading the dishwasher and handwashing all the glasses and large kitchen
                                                                                                                                              Ingestion –   this may be through handling food without having
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               equipment with a cleaning agent. He also cleans the kitchen counters and
                                                                                                                                                            washed your hands after using chemicals or by touching

            the workplace                                                                                                                                   your mouth, or chewing pen tops after handling
                                                                                                                                                            chemicals without washing your hands
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               appliances. His supervisor, Bob supplied him with a pair of gloves as part of his
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               uniform but Patrick doesn’t wear them everyday. He notices that he has a skin rash
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               on his arms that keeps getting worse, so he goes to the doctor.The doctor gives him
                                                                                                                                              Inhalation – this happens when the chemical is in gas, vapour or fume
                                                                                                                                                            form and you breathe it in                                                         a prescription for dermatitis and tells him he must wear

   Dangerous or Hazardous Substances in the Workplace                                                                                         Absorption – this happens when the chemical comes into contact with                              gloves at work everyday.
                                                                                                                                                            and passes through the skin, eyes or mucus membranes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               What should have Bob
                                                               Chemicals (dangerous substances) are used in almost every workplace.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               and Patrick done to
                                                               We all use or come in contact with chemicals everyday, sometimes
                                                               without even being aware of them. But do you know that if they are not                                The Dangers                                                               prevent this chemical
                                                               used correctly, chemicals can seriously affect your health?                                                                                                                     safety issue?
                                                                                                                                              Contact with, or exposure to, hazardous substances at work can result in
                                                               Common examples include adhesives (e.g. epoxy resins), cleaning                discomfort, pain, and in extreme cases, death. If not used properly,
                                                               agents (e.g. oven cleaners), paints and even exhaust fumes from cars.          hazardous substances can:
                                                               A splash from a caustic substance can cause loss of sight. Vapours             ◗ catch fire or explode
                                                               from solvents, such as adhesives, paint strippers and aerosols, can
                                                                                                                                              ◗ cause burns
                                                               cause permanent damage to the brain and nervous system.
                                                                                                                                              ◗ damage your health including asthma, dermatitis, cancer, damage to
                                                                                                                                                  the central nervous system, mutations
                                                               The Health and Safety Authority is responsible for ensuring that
                                                               employers look after the safety of their employees including those             ◗ cause environmental damage
                                                               working with dangerous substances.
                                                                                                                                              The effects of hazardous substances may be seen or felt immediately with
                                                                                                                                              symptoms such as dizziness, nausea and itchy eyes or skin; or the damage
                                                                                                                                              may occur gradually over a number of years, such as in the case of asthma,
                                                                  What are Hazardous or                                                       dermatitis or cancer. Dermatitis (or skin rashes) is one of the most
                                                                  Dangerous Substances?                                                       common health problems as a result of chemical exposure.

                                                                   In legislation relating to chemical safety, any substance in gas, liquid                      The Precautions                                       What an employer must do                              What you must do as an employee
                                                                   or solid form that can cause harm, is referred to as a hazardous
                                                                   or dangerous substance. Sometimes a dangerous substance is only             Labels                                                         Make sure all chemicals are correctly labelled in the       Read the label and ask if you’re not sure
                                                                   one of a product’s ingredients and these are called preparations.                                                                          workplace
                                                                                                                                               Safety Data Sheets (SDS)†                                      Provide all safety information from the SDS to              Take all precautions advised on SDS
                                                                   A Few Examples of Dangerous Substances/Preparations                                                                                        employees
                                                                   Waste –        Fume from a soldering iron                                   Safe Operating Procedures (SOP)                                Provide SOP for all employees using chemicals               Comply with SOP for handling, using chemicals.
                                                                                  Carbon monoxide from car exhausts                                                                                                                                                       No horseplay
                                                                   Toxic –        Certain varnishes and paint removers                         Training                                                       Training must include safe use of, emergency                Follow the procedures taught in training
                                                                   Caustic –      Oven cleaner                                                                                                                procedures and first-aid treatment in case of
                                                                   Harmful –      Xylene, which is used in                                                                                                    accidents involving chemicals

                                                                                  printing inks Irritant                                       Supervision                                                    Ensure that adequate and regular supervision is             Comply with supervisors instructions and report to
                                                                   (Sensitiser) – Hair dyes, bleach                                                                                                           carried out with employees using chemicals                  supervisor of any injury, defect or hazardous situation
                                                                                                                                               Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)                            Provide and replace all necessary PPE as                    Wear the PPE provided when appropriate and look
                                                                                                                                                                                                              recommended by the manufacturer of the chemical             after it when not in use. Report defects.

                                                                                                                                               †Safety Data Sheets must be provided by the manufacturer of the dangerous substance or preparation.

Business 2000     Health & Safety Authority - Chemical safety in the Workplace                                                                                                                                                                                                  
seventh edition
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        the language of the countr y in which the product is sold.
                                      D o s a n d D o n ’t s w h e n u s i n g c h e m i c a l s i n t h e wo r k p l a c e                                                                                      The Hairdressing Salon – Example Three                                                                 This informs the user about t h e d a n g e r s o f t h e product
  Do:                                                                                        Don’t                                                                                                                                                                                                                      and how to use it safely. Next time you see a box of firelighters
                                                                                                                                                                                                                It’s Jennifer first day of her new Saturday job washing hair in her local
  …read and understand the label and ask questions if you don’t understand                   …transfer chemicals into unmarked containers                                                                       hairdressing salon. The manager, Dave, is very busy, so he asks one of the                              fire look at the orange flammable symbol on the s i d e o f t h e
  …follow safe work procedures                                                               …use flammable chemicals near sources of ignition                                                                  hairdressers, Marie, to discuss with Jennifer the details of her job. Marie talks                       b o x . I n addition, chemicals should never be poured into another
  …read and follow instructions before use                                                   …throw aerosols onto fires                                                                                         to Jennifer about cleaning the salon and the procedure for washing hair. Jennifer                       container unless it is suitable and a new copy of the label is
  …use and look after any personal protective equipment, which is                            …mix chemicals unless you are sure they don’t react                                                                washes hair for a number of customers and later on she starts to clean up                               transferred as well.
     recommended and provided                                                                                                                                                                                   around the sink, where there are lots of empty and half empty bottles. Within
  …keep chemicals out of the reach of children                                               …eat, drink or smoke while working with a hazardous substance                                                      a few minutes her hands start to burn and itch and running water on them                                                conclusion
  …wash your hands and face and other exposed areas with soap and                            …keep food or drink near hazardous substances                                                                      doesn’t make it any better. Dave is horrified to see Jennifer’s hands when she
     water before going to the toilet or eating and drinking                                                                                                                                                    approaches him and he asks her why didn’t she wear gloves while cleaning up.                            Through the promotion of the importance of chemical safety,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Jennifer said she didn’t know she had to wear gloves.                                                   HSA intends to prevent accidents and ill health involving
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        dangerous substances occurring in the workplace.
     The Safety Statement in                                                                         Transporting                                                                                               What could have Dave, Marie and Jennifer done to prevent this
         the Workplace                                                                           and Storing Chemicals                                                                                          chemical safety issue?                                                                                  This study focused on the importance of chemical safety in the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        workplace. It addressed the importance of improved safety to
A Safety Statement is a legal working document to safeguard the health                   Just as much care needs to be taken when transporting or storing                                                                                                                                                               the organisation from an operational perspective, but above all it
and safety of all at work. It should state how the employer will ensure                  dangerous goods.                                                                                                                      Chemical Safety                                                                          indicated the importance of providing a safe environment for an
employee health and safety, including the use of chemicals, and outline the                                                                                                                                                  legislation & Europe                                                                       organisation’s employees, contractors and customers.
resources that will be provided for maintaining standards and reviewing                  Transporting: The main aim of several health and safety
risks in the workplace to comply with legislation.                                       regulations is to ensure that chemical substances are                                                                  European Directives have driven comprehensive legislation in the EU
                                                                                                                                                                                                                member states. Managers need to be familiar with and understand this
      A Safety Statement must be prepared by employers
                                                                                         appropriately packaged and labelled for transport
                                                                                                                                                                                                                legislation and how it relates to their workplace so that they can create and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               TASKS & ACTIVITIES
                                                                                         and drivers of vehicles carrying dangerous
     and the self-employed under Section 12 of the Safety,                                                                                                                                                      maintain a safe working environment. If a manager does not ensure the safety
                                                                                         chemicals are qualified in how to handle                                                                                                                                                                                       1) In your opinion, why does it make good business sense to
            Health and Welfare at Work Act, 1989.                                                                                                                                                               of their employees through the implementation of safety procedures when
                                                                                         chemicals. The certified driver will know how to                                                                                                                                                                                  ensure employees are kept healthy and safe?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                handling chemicals, they can be held personally responsible for failure to
                                                                                         manage the chemicals during transportation and in                                                                                                                                                                              2) Having clear labels on chemical products is important, not
The safety statement must be based on a risk assessment the steps of                                                                                                                                            control health and safety in the workplace. This means that the manager may
                                                                                                                           the event of an accident. For an                                                                                                                                                                only for employers and employees, but also for consumers.
which are outlined below:                                                                                                                                                                                       have to pay a fine or even go to jail if convicted under the legislation.
                                                                                                     33                    example of transport labelling see if                                                                                                                                                           Explain the importance and relevance of consumer
                                                                                                                           you can spot the red flammable labels and orange                                                                                                                                                information.
               Chemical Risk Assessment                                                                                                                                                                             The EU, Chemical Safety and Labelling
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3) The EU’s policies and directives have an impact on Irish
Managers should review the steps involved in managing chemical safely with
                                                                                                  1203                     signs opposite indicating the type of load on the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                The European Union has been instrumental in introducing standard hazard
                                                                                                                           next petrol tanker you see.                                                                                                                                                                     business. Why is it beneficial to the Irish economy to have
their employees. The seven steps involved in managing chemicals safely are:                                                                                                                                     symbols for
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           similar health and safety standards to other EU members?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4) The role of a manager is important, not only in large
                                                                                                      The Building Site – Example Two                                                                                                                                                                                      operations but also in small businesses. How do you think the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                which must
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           managers in the three examples above could have improved
                                                                                         Joe is working as a labourer on a building site. Bill, his supervisor, has asked                                       be used on
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           under the following headings;
                                                                                         him to mix some cement. Bill tells him what he needs and how to mix the                                                containers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           a. Effective communication
                                                                                         cement. Joe gets the sand, water and cement additive required. The cement                                              containing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           b. Organising staff
                                                                                         additive has symbols on the container that Joe doesn’t understand and the                                              dangerous
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           c. Supervision
                                                                                         product has instructions but they are not in English so Joe doesn’t understand                                         substances to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           d. Training
                                                                                         these either. He decides to continue anyway but unfortunately gets some of                                             indicate key
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           e. Controlling procedures
                                                                                         the cement additive in his eye. He goes to Bill who takes him to the casualty                                          infor mation
                                                                                         department in the local hospital.                                                                                      about      the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                hazard. It is
                                                                                                                                                                                                                also a legal
                                                                                         What should Joe and Bill have done to prevent this chemical
                                                                                         safety issue?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                that specific
                                                                                                                                                                                                                safety and risk
                                                                                         Storing: How chemicals are stored depends on the specific substance,                                                   information is                                                                                                       HEALTH AND SAFETY
                                                                                         so employers need to check the label and SDS for advice about storage.                                                 included on                                                                                                             AUTHORITY
                                                                                         Generally storage areas should be well ventilated, lockable and not liable                                             the label for a
                                                                                         to flooding. Importantly, incompatible chemicals should be separated and                                               hazardous
                                                                                         the chemical storage area should be used for chemicals exclusively.                                                    substance in

                                                                        While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this case study, no liability shall attach to either The Irish Times Ltd. or Woodgrange Technologies Ltd. for any errors or omissions in this case study.

 Business 2000                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
seventh edition

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