Safety and health in the use of chemicals at work

This training manual addresses all aspects of dealing with chemicals including production, storage, use, transport and disposal. It provides an approach to problems and solutions concerning safety and health in the use of chemicals at work. It is written in straightforward language and assumes a minimum of technical knowledge. The manual also includes the texts of ILO Convention No. 170 and ILO Recommendation No. 177 and a system for classification, identification and labelling of chemicals.

Instructional material | 12 February 1993
Workers and their representatives will find information that will help them understand how chemicals can affect them and what measures can be taken to afford protection. Information is also provided on preventing fires and explosions. Managers and supervisors will find guidance on preventive activities and the management of a safety programme for the use of chemicals. Government officials and trainers will discover that the manual is in a format that can easily be used as the basis for a one-week training course for managers, supervisors and workers' representatives.

The manual is divided into the following chapters: the health effects of chemicals; fire and explosion hazards; methods of prevention; emergency procedures; and management of safety in the use of chemicals. These five units can be taught as a five-day course or can be presented individually, depending on the needs of the intended audience.

The emphasis has been placed throughout on practical guidance on the safety precautions to be taken when using chemicals at the workplace. The discussion and activities included at the end of sections and chapters may be used equally by trainers in group exercises or by individual readers in self-evaluation. Suggestions for further reading are given at the end of each chapter.

Throughout the manual three concepts will be frequently referred to: there must be adequate information and understanding about every chemical in the workplace in the form of labels and chemical safety data sheets; there must be a clearly established policy on the safe use of chemicals in the workplace, providing the framework for both organizational and operational control measures; the management of chemical hazards is a task requiring the participation of both employers and workers. It starts before the receipt of the chemical and continues without interruption, ending when the chemical is neutralized or destroyed.