In our previous blog, we discussed the importance of safety in the chemical industry, identifying chemicals, transporting, and storing them. Although that seems to be enough, having a plan or two about measures and guidelines when handling chemicals is considered to be a good practice in the industry. In this blog, we will discuss the safety requirement guideline, behavioral rules, and emergency plan that you need to create before using chemicals.

Rules in Chemical Handling Guidelines

The establishment of a storage facility needs careful planning in order to avoid the hazards mentioned above. Among other things, the storage facility must prevent hazardous chemical exposure; and not create new hazards through its design.

Firemen Handling Chemical Fire

Precautionary Planning and Guidelines

As a starting stage, the planner must gather all requirements including:

  • Volumes to be kept, including, if required, the volume of chemical waste. Furthermore, chemical waste must be treated like fresh chemicals but stored separately.
  • Classification of chemicals in terms of shelf-life, storage circumstances, and compatibility.
  • Organizational operations involving chemical sampling or transfer activities within the storage facility will necessitate a separate designated space with local exhaust and a particular spill containment system.
  • Accessibility that includes reachability and number/dimensions/operation of apertures and access control counting access to hazardous or narcotic substances is restricted to properly trained and authorized personnel.
  • Statutory criteria for the storage location and the stored items. When it comes to the storage of ecologically hazardous substances, for example, special national building requirements may apply.

In terms of legal requirements, chemical storage is governed by three legislative and regulatory frameworks:

  • Worker Health and Safety
  • Public Safety
  • Environmental Protection.

Although the form of Member State law and regulations in various sectors may differ greatly, the goals are the same. To become acquainted with the legal provisions in effect locally, competent national authorities should be consulted.

Chemical Industry Personnel                    

Precautionary Planning and Guidelines

The IMO/ILO/UNECE Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units provides further guidance for risky cargo handling.

  • Section 10.3.2 reads, "Cargo Transport Units (CTUs) should be packed in such a way that incompatible hazardous or other products are segregated in line with the norms of all modes of transport." In certain cases, even items from the same class are incompatible and should not be packaged in the same unit, such as acids and alkalis from class 8."
  • Section 10.3.5 adds, "Packages shall be handled and packaged in conformity with their marks (if any)."

The ADR European Agreement for the International Carriage of Hazardous Goods stresses the significance of selecting the proper packaging in its provisions on dangerous goods packaging.

  • Section says that "parts of the packaging, particularly IBCs and big packaging, that come into direct contact with hazardous products:
    • shall not be damaged or materially weakened by such dangerous items.
    • should not have a harmful effect, such as catalyzing a reaction or interacting with the dangerous products;
    • shall not enable dangerous goods penetration that might pose a threat under normal transportation conditions.”

Packing Instruction 650 of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (IDGR) emphasizes the significance of quality in any packing material. Regulations state that "packaging should be of excellent quality and robust enough to endure disturbances and loads usually faced during transportation, particularly trans-shipment across transport units and warehouses, as well as any removal from a pallet or overpack for further human and/or mechanical handling. Packaging must be designed and sealed to prevent any loss of contents due by typical transit circumstances, vibration, or changes in temperature, humidity, or pressure.”

Rules about Behavior in Handling Chemicals

Rules about behavior that personnel in the chemical sector must follow should be incorporated in the operating instructions. Such as:

  • Smoking is strictly forbidden in the storage area.
  • Suitable notices requiring the use of personal protective equipment are displayed.
  • No food, drinks, or stimulants are permitted in the storage room.
  • Hand washing is required before breaks; and
  • Entry to the storage area is restricted based on the characteristics of the chemicals stored.
  • Operating manuals and guidelines must be accessible for storage and associated operations.
  • Employees should be taught by the supervisors on the foundations of these operating directions.

Chemical Industry Personnel using Safety Equipment

Precautionary Planning and Guidelines

The following are the contents of operating instructions/manuals/guidelines and accompanying training:

  • Hazardous chemical labeling.
  • The dangers of working with dangerous substances.
  • Technical, organizational, and personal safeguards, as well as norms for safe behavior
  • Guidelines for joint storage.
  • Emergency protocols, including what to do in the case of a leak or a fire.
  • First-aid procedures.
  • Waste product disposal Operating instructions for single compounds as well as groupings of substances with similar characteristics can be developed.

Other dangers associated with storage activities, such as the usage of forklifts, must also be addressed in the training guidelines.

  • special risk warnings, such as fire and explosion, are displayed.
  • ignition sources that could cause fires or explosions are avoided. Auxiliary materials and trash can also be useful ignition sources (for instance, oil-soaked rags).
  • no containers or shipments are harmed, and no fire protection installations are destroyed or rendered inoperable.

Emergency Plan When Handling Chemicals

Under planning for Emergencies, each storage facility must have an emergency plan that clearly defines the sequence of actions to be performed in the event of a fire, accident, or product release/leakage.

Emergency Exit in Chemical Industry

Precautionary Planning and Guidelines

When storing chemicals with a high hazard potential, such as highly toxic and toxic chemicals (acutely toxic substances of category 1-3), carcinogenic, mutagenic, and reproductive toxic, as well as those that are flammable or oxidizing, the following information should be included in the emergency plan:

  • Detailed Information about fire alarms, safety equipment, emergency exits and escape routes, assembly point, and evacuation headcount.
  • Actions must be done in a certain order.
  • A phone list with the following numbers: emergency services, fire and police departments, hospitals, physicians, and the Toxicology Centre.
  • Contact information for the plant manager, supervisor, and any personnel with operational responsibilities.

The chemical industry entails a number of risks, but no more than you could expect from any other kind of business. As simple as it may sound, a restaurant owner for example, bears a great responsibility in keeping their products fresh, a spotless workplace, and clean tools to prevent food poisoning.

A tiny mistake, such as smoking or eating in the wrong place, might cause unnecessary damage, for both the business and the personnel.  Closely following the given measures and having a backup plan when things go wrong, will assure a safe environment for your employees and surroundings.

Camachem ensures the safety of its products at all times, giving special attention to packaging. Please contact us if you are interested in purchasing high-quality chemicals or would like to receive a free sample of the desired product.

Ultimate Guide to Handling Chemicals in China