National workplace health and safety authority Safe Work Australia has issued a new chemical storage guide for workplaces, aiming to reduce chemical related injuries.
The document, available at Safe Work Australia’s website shows both employers and employees how to safely identify, store, and manage risks of chemicals in workplaces across Australia.
The guide itself introduces workers to hazardous chemicals, identifies hazards, and presents methods for assessing and controlling risks. It also includes a storage checklist, segregation chart, and a case study showing proper management of chemical storage risks.
The guide is aimed especially at small to medium sized businesses, according to a statement from Director of Chemicals Policy, Dr. Paul Taylor.
“If you store chemicals in your workplace and need information on how to store them safely, this guide is for you.
“In this guide we go into some of the common health and safety risks of storing chemicals and ways to manage those risks. We have included a handy storage checklist that sets out the standard precautions everyone should take and a detailed chart that will tell you which types of chemicals to separate and by how far,” he said.
The new guide compliments the Model Code of Practice for managing risks of hazardous chemicals in the workplace, and the national guide for Classifying Hazardous Chemicals. The guide also adds to existing State-issued workplace health and safety tools and guides.
National workplace safety and health regulators, unions, and industry bodies contributed to the guide.
Injuries caused by chemicals declined by 39% over 2013-14 to 2014-15, falling from 935 to 820 across Australia. This cost industry and individuals over $2.05 billion, with an average of $148,090 per case.
Chemical injuries comprise 3% of the total cases and costs in workplace safety failures.
Safe Work Australia is an Australian government statutory body established in 2008 to develop national policy relating to Workplace health and safety and workers’ compensation.
As part of a safe storage plan employers should ensure there is a suitable way to clean up any chemicals that spill. There is a large range of spill kits and spill clean-up products available.
Safe Work Australia recently promoted November as Safe Work Month.