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Best Practice in Chemical Handling

Written by: Lisa Hallsworth

Published on: 21 July 2017

Best practices in chemical handling focus on protecting the end-user of chemicals. If this is done well, not only will organizations meet the regulations but they will reduce illness and associated costs, improve internal and external reputation and facilitate an environment where workers can responsibly unleash the benefits of chemicals!

How is this Accomplished?

Consider the DuPont Bradley Curveshown in Figure 1. Risk of injury reduces as organizations move to the right using leadership, education and consistent practices.  It aligns nicely with the Rillea Best Practice Chemical Handling Continuum in Figure 2, focused on achieving organizational chemical handling confidence and safety.

DuPont Bradley Curve

Figure 1: Dupont Bradley Curve1

Best Chemical Handling Practices

Figure 2: Rillea Best Practice Chemical Handling Continuum

Safety Leads to Profitability

DuPont has comprehensively defined the benefits versus costs of fully educated organizational personnel, in the complete Bradley Curve Infographic. Studies by DuPont have shown that safety leads to profitability. “Employees naturally become more emotionally and physically vested in their work. Work force turnover goes down while productivity and quality go up.”1

Is Luck a Good Environmental and Occupational Health Strategy?

Organizations who simply give chemical handlers generic WHMIS education and perhaps keep safety data sheets (SDS) up-to-date, leave workers to make their own decisions about how to handle chemicals. With SDSs being long, complicated and sometimes confusing for many workers, organizations may be depending on worker instinct and luck to avoid illness and risk. Is luck really a good environmental and occupational health strategy? The DuPont Bradley Curveclearly shows it is not!

When organizations engage in hazard identification and risk assessment but stop there, they make workers dependent on supervisors to help them understand how to safely handle chemicals. If supervisors are not around, luck may again be an undesired strategy.

Best Practice in Chemical Safety

When organizations continue through the risk assessment process to eliminate/mitigate the risk and conduct thorough worker chemical-specific training and communication, they move to the “independent” phase where employees are equipped with the knowledge to make good chemical-handling decisions.

Better Yet!

When organizations take the final step of auditing and reviewing their systems to ensure they are successful, they reach the “interdependent” stage. Discussions and information sharing is encouraged. This is where organizations achieve their highest level of safety, organizational performance and return on investment.

Does This Process Meet Legal Requirements?

Each step in the Rillea Best Practice Chemical Handling Continuum is in fact a regulatory requirement in the province of Ontario as well as most other locations around the world. By addressing each of these steps, organizations will not only improve their worker performance but they will reduce illness and associated cost while meeting local chemical handling regulations and improving their internal and external reputations.

Not Sure Where to Start?

Contact us or email info@rilleatech.com. We can help your organization become chemical confident with cost effective enabling technology.

  1. Dupont Bradley Curve Infographic, http://www.dupont.com/products-and-services/consulting-services-process-technologies/articles/bradley-curve-infographic.html


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SDS RiskAssist an Ontario-based company that uses the power of technology to give employers control and understanding over the otherwise pervasive and worrisome use of chemicals. SDS RiskAssist enables workers to know why chemicals are being used, what their benefits and hazards are and how to use them safely! Workers can access this knowledge via mobile or desktop SafetySnaps™, from anywhere in the world. SDS RiskAssist is the winner for 5 years running, of Readers’ Choice Awards by Canadian Occupational Safety Magazine (2018-2022); the 2019 Innovation Guelph Startup of the Year Award; the 2019 Quinte Business Achievement Award (Trailblazer category) and The Ottawa Network’s 2020 Bootstrap Award (SaaS category). We support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, working with our clients to take action for a sustainable planet.

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