Chemical Safety

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Information about Chemical Safety

Published on January 18, 2008

Author: Massimo


ILO activities in the field of chemical safety:  ILO activities in the field of chemical safety Pavan Baichoo InFocus Programme on safety and health at work and the environment (SafeWork) Presentation structure :  Presentation structure Introduction ILO OSH information systems Chemical safety at work – ILO approach Key activities and major products Inter-agency (international) cooperation Conclusion Introduction :  Introduction Direct relationship between magnitude of environmental pollution and world of work can be seen from major accidents Release of chemicals have been identified as the cause of long-term environmental damage Damage highest in agricultural, chemical and energy sectors Introduction :  Introduction ILO standard setting and technical assistance in chemical safety – 1919 First binding instrument developed in 1921 (White lead) Not only Conventions but also COPs, Guides etc. ILO list of occupational diseases – diseases from exposure to chemicals ILO OSH Information Systems :  ILO OSH Information Systems ILO active not only in chemical safety Website provides iformation on all instruments, free of charge Specific information on chemical safety can be accessed Ongoing programme of uploading all documents free of charge on the website ILO SafeWork webpage:  ILO SafeWork webpage ILO Chemicals webpage:  ILO Chemicals webpage Chemical safety at work:  Chemical safety at work ILO approach Historical background Activities and products Difficulties in chemical safety ILO response Chemicals Convention (N0.170), 1990 GHS International chemical safety cards ILO chemicals control toolkit New ILO involvement in chemical safety:  ILO involvement in chemical safety White Lead Convention (No.13), 1921 UNEP/ILO/WHO – IPCS, 1980 Chemicals Convention (No.170), 1990 Prevention of Major Industrial Accidents Convention (No.174), 1993 UNCED and follow-up ILO activities and products:  ILO activities and products A series of programmes were started after Bhopal disaster in 1984 Technical cooperation projects (India etc.) Conventions (170 and 174) Codes of practice (Chemicals, Major industrial accidents, Asbestos) Major Hazard Control: Manual ILO activities and products:  ILO activities and products Training manuals: chemicals and agrochemicals Encyclopaedia on OHS International chemical safety cards (IPCS) CIS information centres (>100 national and collaborating centres) Difficulties in chemical safety:  Difficulties in chemical safety Each chemical has a different hazard Users usually cannot analyse hazards Safe handling cannot be ensured without safety information Information flow should be from suppliers (manufacturers, importers, distributors) to employers and then to the workforce Means for providing information:  Means for providing information Labelling (concise information providing the intrinsic properties of the chemical on the container) Chemical safety data sheets (comprehensive safety information for use on the shopfloor) ILO response:  ILO response Chemicals Convention (No.170), 1990 Globally Harmonized System for the Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) International Chemical Safety Cards (ICSC) ILO Chemical Control Toolkit Chemicals Convention, 1990 (No.170):  Chemicals Convention, 1990 (No.170) Targeted and specific instrument Presupposes the existence of a system for assessing risks and setting limits No provisions on health surveillance, recording and notification and sanctions Instead, C.170 provides a system for the sound management of chemicals Focussed on specific subject matter Key elements of Chemicals Convention (No.170):  Key elements of Chemicals Convention (No.170) National policy on chemical safety Classification systems Labelling and marking Chemical safety data sheets Responsibility of suppliers Responsibility of employers Duties and rights of workers GHS:  GHS Follow-up to the adoption of C.170 Development of a single, globally harmonised system to address classification of chemicals, labels and safety data Work undertaken under the IOMC, focal points being ILO, OECD and UN SCTDG 10 years to develop Need for harmonisation:  Need for harmonisation National implementation and trade requires a harmonised system for hazard classification and labelling Major systems were already in use: UN Transport Recommendations EU Directives on substances and preparations Canadian and US requirements for Workplace, Consumers and Pesticides Need for harmonisation:  Need for harmonisation Requirements were different under each system, for example: EU Class 1 cut off for acute toxicity was 25mg/kg (oral), whereas US systems was 50mg/kg (oral) Hence al chemicals classified betweend 25 and 50 mg/kg were classified differently Labels were also different (see next slide) Need for harmonisation:  Need for harmonisation Explosive Flammable Toxic Corrosive Radioactive Same ILO UN GHS cont.:  GHS cont. Adopted in December 2002 Designed to cover all chemicals, including mixtures Provide for chemical hazrd communication requirements for workplace, transport, consumers and environment Truly harmonised and universal non-binding standard GHS cont.:  GHS cont. Progressive implementation of the GHS will have far reaching consequences Impact on national and international laws related to chemicals Facilitate trade in chemicals and ease global information exchange of hazards of toxic chemicals and preventive measures Table of hazard classes on next slide International chemical safety cards (ICSCs):  International chemical safety cards (ICSCs) Developed in 1984 with IPCS and EU Contribution to recommendations made by 1992 UNCED in Agenda 21, Chapter 19 on environmentally sound management of toxic chemicals Summarises essential OSH information on chemical substances in a clear and structured way International chemical safety cards (ICSCs):  International chemical safety cards (ICSCs) Use at shopfloor level by workers and OSH reps Use by employers when providing information and instructions to workers Special role in SME’s 1300 ICSCs available free in 16 languages 1.5 million downloads/year International chemical safety cards (ICSCs):  International chemical safety cards (ICSCs) Information provided conforms to C. 170 and R. 174 on safety in the use of chemicals at work Not legally binding and should be seen as only an international reference to chemical safety information User should verify compliance of cards with relevant national requirements ILO chemical control toolkit:  ILO chemical control toolkit Scheme for Workplace Chemicals Control Kit designed for SMEs in developing countries Work undertaken by experts from ILO, IOHA, USA, South Africa, HSE Generic risk assessment based on GHS and task guidance sheets Aim is to provide simple and practical means to prevent/reduce risks of chemicals Scope:  Scope Many substances used at work contain chemicals Guidance should be provided to ensure safe handling Does not cover process generated dusts and fumes Based on the HSE’s COSHH Essentials kit Toolkit operation:  Toolkit operation Five stages: Hazard classification Scale of use Ability to become airborne Finding the control approach Finding the task-specific control guidance sheet(s) Stage 1: Hazard classification:  Stage 1: Hazard classification Determination of hazards presented by the chemicals (based on the GHS) 6 hazard groups (A-E inhalation, S contact) Simple 3-step reference table allows hazard group to be assigned to the chemical Stage 2:Scale of use:  Stage 2:Scale of use Determines how much is used/handled Stage 3: Ability to become airborne:  Stage 3: Ability to become airborne Physical form of chemical affects how likely it is to get into the air Solids – 3 levels of dustiness (low-pellets, medium-crystalline, high-powder) Liquids – 3 levels of volatility (High-Bpt<60°C, Medium- 60°C<Bpt<150°C, Low- Bpt >150°C) Stage 4: Selection of control approach:  Stage 4: Selection of control approach Stages 1-3 enable the choice of control approach to be made using table 4 control approaches possible: general ventilation, engineering controls, containment and Special Table overleaf allows for easy identification Control approach selection:  Control approach selection Stage 5: Find the task-specific guidance sheet(s):  Stage 5: Find the task-specific guidance sheet(s) General guidance sheet for each approach Development of a range of simple and practice task specific control guidance sheets is planned Inter-agency cooperation (IAC):  Inter-agency cooperation (IAC) Major part of ILO’s input in chemical safety is through IAC IPCS UNEP, WHO, ILO in 1980 Development on internationally peer reviewed chemical risk assessments as well as harmonised methodologies Setting of air and water quality guidelines Inter-agency cooperation (IAC):  Inter-agency cooperation (IAC) IOMC ILO, WHO, UNEP, FAO, UNITAR, OECD, UNIDO in 1995 Coordinates activities of the PO’s Work in 5 main areas: Risk assessment of chemicals GHS Risk reduction Information exchange Capacity building Conclusion:  Conclusion ILO has provided impetus for the development of legal and technical instruments Instruments based on scientific research, especially risk assessment and toxicology Transposing scientific work into regulatory mechanisms to prevent human and environmental exposure to hazardous chemicals Thank You:  Thank You Further information: SafeWork International Labour Office 4 rte. des Morillons, CH-1211 Geneva 22 Email : Web :

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