4 Steps to Minimising the Risk of Hazardous Goods in the Workplace
For businesses that routinely find themselves working with chemicals or hazardous goods, it’s essential to do everything possible to minimise their risk. Of course, there’s an incredible risk when working with explosives, corrosive acids and poisons, though with the correct precautions and procedures, these risks dissipate almost entirely.
If you’re having trouble educating your workforce or just looking for a few steps on how to minimise chemical risks, we have four essential steps for you below.
There’s always a multi-step process when it comes to minimising risk, but it’s not too hard to remember, and we’ve taken a look into these below. Fortunately, a few somewhat simple changes can work wonders for the safety of your business, so making these won’t be very difficult at all. Let’s make your workplace as safe as can be, take a look at our tips below.
1. Identify and Understand
This is the essential first step to reducing the risk of harm in the workplace. Nor yourself or an employee can effectively deal with a chemical, poison or explosive without first knowing what it is, what its risks are, and how to store it safely.
With that in mind, it’s crucial to take a look at the Safety Data Sheet that has come with the substance and work out just what it is. If it should be stored in a compliant way, then invest in a Storemasta cabinet, and you’ll be checking off an essential requirement: safe storage.
Once you’ve identified what a chemical is, and how it should be handled, you can then move on to assessing how best to deal with it.
2. Assessing Risk and Potential Harm
As we now know the substance and its basic requirements for storage, we can then move on to understanding the risks it poses to the workplace. You’ll need to know whether the chemical is going to cause vapours to spread through the warehouse or workplace, or if it can catch fire under certain conditions, for example.
We suggest undertaking a risk assessment of that specific hazardous good and learning about the potential risks it poses. In doing so, you’ll have an in-depth look at what the substance is capable of, and how to keep it from doing any harm.
In the end, after assessments and some brief research, you should know exactly what the substance’s risk is, and how to mitigate it.
3. Work to Control Risk
The first two steps in our list will have shown you just what a chemical is, how it should be handled, and what harm it can cause. With these points in mind, you should then develop a plan and educate staff on how to control risk when working with that specific chemical.
A few tips we suggest are:
- Adapting workplace tasks that could result in injury
- Investing in personal protection equipment or PPE
- Change workplace paths to keep staff away from an unsafe area.
Without a doubt, prevention is the best medicine when it comes to reducing the risk of a hazardous chemical harming someone. It’s also a good idea to implement the following tips to reduce risk further:
- Invest in correct ventilation for chemicals.
- Install a Storemasta cabinet for storage.
- Automate or enhance tasks that require chemical use.
Adding these few tips is essential to relatively neutralising risk, regardless of how dangerous or hazardous a substance may be.
4. Maintain Safety
The final step to minimising hazardous good's risk is to implement a few changes in the workplace that revolve around the hazards themselves. These could include permanently changing workplace tasks, implementing mandatory workplace safety meetings and developing a workplace-wide safety protocol.
If you plan on maintaining the safety of your workplace, there's little chance that the hazards will again crop up, keeping everyone safe in the long term.
It may also be a good idea to have a professional WHS risk assessment worker come to your workplace on a routine basis throughout the year to run a few tests and take a look at how things are going. These people will be able to spotlight potential risks and let you know what to do to reduce the chance of an injury.