‘Why does the fear exist? Is it a fear on an apathy?’ – chemical safety expert discusses the basic rules to follow in order to remove the fear surrounding chemical management in SHP’s Webinar Wednesdays series.
In this session, which is available to watch on-demand now, Founder of DCM Compliance (acquired by EcoOnline in 2018), Dermot Dinan, discussed how companies should go about removing the fear aspect of chemical management.
He begins the discussion by encouraging audience members to respond to the question – ‘why does the fear around chemical safety management exist?’
- A lack of training and knowledge
- Complex legislation
- Not being aware of the risks
- An un-clear divide between regulations and implementation
- The frightening consequences of not adhering to protocol.
Dermot then goes on to set out a series of basic rules companies should follow to ensure effective, stress-free chemical management.
- Breaking the task down into manageable chunks, always tackling the big issues first
- Not overwhelming employees with paperwork if they’re not experienced or qualified
- Allowing adequate time for COSHH training, customising the training schedule to your specific site
- Documenting your company’s unique structure – companies should not assume they know where all the chemicals are, always assign individual ‘champions’ to each
- Designing a consistent template for use across the organisation including, full product name, manufacturer, product code and quantities
- Educating the people who oversee collecting the information on why the data is important, what the chemical is, and what should be included on the data sheets.
Sourcing safety data sheets
Within the discussion, Dermot explains the importance of sourcing safety data sheets in a central location, he argues that delegation should be assigned by manufacturer and not department.
‘Sourcing data safety sheets is the job we underestimate the most.’
Companies should also expect to contact manufacturers more than once, “you will not source every SDS on the first pass”, says Dermot.
Collect basic data
The next step is to collect relevant data.
According to Dermot, data sheets should include information such as:
- The date the chemical was sourced and checked
- Hazards relating to the chemical
- An analysis of high hazards
- Storage incompatibilities
- A snapshot of hazards by department.
Fix the big problems
The next question companies need to be asking themselves is – can we remove any high hazards?
Can we reduce exposure to those hazards?
Once data has been collected, Dermot argues that businesses should then be able to conclude as to whether a department is set up to cater for the hazards they store.
Businesses should always be asking themselves questions like:
- Are our staff adequately trained?
- Are we encountering any general storage issues?
- Do we have correct spill equipment?
- Is PPE available and being used appropriately?
Dermot encourages companies to then create a concise COSHH template, he argues these should be relatively simple, relevant, and include primarily multiple-choice options.
Want to find out more about this stress-free approach safe chemical management? Watch the rest of the webinar, and others in the series, on demand now…
Dermot Dinan (Solutions Ambassador, Ireland & UK, EcoOnline) shares his learning and findings on the barriers to chemical management reporting including workforce behaviours, cultures and fears. But also highlight how these can be overcome with the right solutions in place.
With over 15 years’ experience in delivering and deploying Health & Safety systems in a wide variety of industries including healthcare, pharmaceutical, food manufacturing and consumer goods. Dermot has a passion for Health & Safety management and an extensive understanding of Chemical Management across a wide range of industry sectors.