Emergency Equipment & Safety Equipment For Chemical Safety

Emergency Equipment & Safety Equipment For Chemical Safety

It’s important for any business to have a plan in place for emergencies. But it’s especially important to have the right emergency equipment when it comes to businesses that handle chemicals. This blog post will discuss the different types of emergency equipment and safety gear you need to keep your business safe.

A fire extinguisher is one of the most important pieces of emergency equipment for chemical safety. If a fire were to break out, it’s important to have an extinguisher on hand to help put it out quickly. There are different fire extinguishers, so be sure to choose one that is appropriate for the type of chemicals you’re using.

Another important piece of equipment is an emergency shower. This can quickly rinse any chemicals that may have come into contact with your skin. Be sure to place the shower near any areas where chemicals are used or stored so it’s easily accessible in an emergency.

Finally, you’ll also need to have a first aid kit on hand. This should include items like bandages, gloves, and eye wash. If someone is exposed to chemicals, these items can help them avoid further injury.

A person conducting a business or undertaking at a workplace that uses handles to generate or store hazardous chemicals must ensure that equipment is always available in an emergency.

The type of emergency equipment required to respond to an emergency, contain and clean up spills and assist workers in conducting emergency procedures safely will vary depending on the type and quantities of hazardous chemicals at the workplace.

Equipment must be located and readily accessible for all workers if an emergency arises. If safety equipment is needed to respond in an emergency, you must ensure that it is provided, maintained and readily accessible at the workplace. Safety equipment for use with hazardous chemicals should be compatible with the hazardous chemicals they may come in contact with. For example, water fire extinguishers must not be used on oil fires.

Examples of emergency equipment that may be required in your workplace include:

  • over packs such as oversized drums containing leaking containers
  • absorbent material suitable for the chemical likely to be spilled
  • booms, plates and/or flexible sheeting for preventing spillage from entering drains and waterways
  • fire extinguishers
  • neutralising agents such as lime and soda ash
  • suitable pumps and hoses for removing spilled material
  • first aid kits (including antidotes for specific chemical exposures such as cyanide)
  • emergency showers and eyewash stations
  • hand tools such as mops, buckets, squeegees and bins
  • suitable protective clothing and equipment to protect the safety and health of personnel involved in the cleanup.

Fire Protection Systems

A person conducting a business or undertaking at a workplace must ensure that fire protection and firefighting equipment:

  • is designed and built for the types of hazardous chemicals at the workplace in quantities in which they are used, handled, generated or stored at the workplace
  • the conditions under which they are used, handled, generated or stored
  • is compatible with firefighting equipment used by primary emergency services organisations
  • is properly installed, tested and maintained
  • the latest testing date is recorded, and test results are kept until the next test is conducted.

Where large quantities of hazardous chemicals are used, handled, generated or stored in your workplace, simple fire extinguishers may not be sufficient to deal with a fire. In these cases, you need to consider installing a fire protection system designed for the types and quantities of hazardous chemicals used, handled, generated or stored in your workplace.

Fire Protection Systems

When installing a fire protection system you must have regard to:

  • the fire load of the hazardous chemicals and other sources
  • the compatibility of the hazardous chemicals with other substances or mixtures
  • the compatibility of the equipment with equipment used by the primary emergency services organisation.

You should also consider the proximity of the workplace to other workplaces or premises and any requirements under the Building Code of Australia.

The fire protection system should be able to quickly control and extinguish any fire involving hazardous chemicals. It should also effectively protect the hazardous chemicals stored within the workplace from any fire in adjacent properties.

If, at any stage, the fire protection or firefighting equipment becomes ineffective or inoperable, you must assess the implications of having an unserviceable or inoperative system and must control the risk with alternative measures. In these circumstances, you should make sure that alternative arrangements are made immediately.

If alternative resources cannot be obtained to provide the required level of protection, it may be necessary to cease operating until effective fire protection can be restored. You must ensure that the fire protection and firefighting equipment are returned to full operation as soon as possible.

Monitors and Alarms

Monitors and alarms can be critical to controlling an emergency situation as they allow the emergency or dangerous situation to be identified early and response actions initiated quickly. Effective alarm systems should:

  • activate automatically and be capable of being operated manually through the use of clearly identified alarm activators at convenient and safe locations, that are easily accessible to work areas
  • utilise alarm signals that are distinguishable from any other signal and are clearly audible throughout the premises
  • contain a visual component (for example, flashing lights) in situations where there are high noise levels or the use of protective clothing may prevent the recognition of an alarm signal
  • remain operable if the main power supply fails.

Monitors and alarms should be installed by manufacturers’ specifications. Fire alarms should be installed where fire control may require the direction of large quantities of firewater (or equivalent) at a fixed installation, with minimum exposure to risks for firefighters. Where large quantities of hazardous chemicals are involved, it is recommended that this is done in consultation with the relevant emergency services authority.

They should be tested regularly to ensure that monitors and alarms remain effective.

Monitors and Alarms

Automatic Sprinkler Systems

Depending on the level of risk, you may choose to install an automatic sprinkler system. Automatic sprinkler systems may allow the fire to be controlled immediately after it starts. However, they may not be suitable in all workplaces, for example, where the use of water as the extinguishing agent is inappropriate because of the presence of chemicals that react with water. Automatic sprinkler systems may comprise:

  • individual-actuation sprinklers
  • deluge sprinklers
  • foam sprinklers
  • a combination of any of the above.
Automatic Sprinkler Systems

Water supply

A reliable water supply is required to ensure that the protection system remains operable in an emergency. The supply should be sufficient to supply the internal fire protection equipment and additional equipment used by the emergency services organisation controlling a fire at the premises.

Where sufficient supply is unavailable from the main water supply, it may be necessary to supplement this with additional water storage and/or pumps. If the local authorities permit it, water may be obtained from reliable alternative sources such as nearby rivers and dams, using suitable resources.

The emergency services organisation attending a fire at the workplace should be requested to conduct regular checks on the adequacy of the local water supply and pressure within the workplace.

The Meaning Of Key Terms Of Chemical Safety

ADG Code means the Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail, 7th edition, approved by the Australian Transport Council. The ADG Code is accessible at the National Transport Commission website: www.ntc.gov.au.

Article means a manufactured item, other than a fluid or particle, formed into a particular shape or design during manufacture and has hazard properties and a function that is wholly or partly dependent on the shape or design.

Biological monitoring means measuring and evaluating a substance, or its metabolites, in the body tissue, fluids or exhaled air of a person exposed to that substance or blood lead level monitoring.

Class of dangerous goods means the number assigned to the goods in the ADG Code indicating the hazard, or most predominant, exhibited by the goods.

A combustible substance is a combustible substance that includes dust, fibres, fumes, mists or vapours produced by the substance.

Control of Combustible and Flammable Materials

Container means anything in or by which a hazardous chemical is, or has been, wholly or partly covered, enclosed or packed, including anything necessary for the container to function.

Correct classification means the set of hazard classes and categories assigned to a hazardous chemical when correctly classified. Note: Part 1 of Schedule 9 identifies when a hazardous chemical is correctly classified.

Division of dangerous goods means a number in a class of dangerous goods to which the dangerous goods are assigned in the ADG Code.

Exposure standard represents the airborne concentration of a particular substance or mixture that must not be exceeded. The exposure standard can be of three forms:

  • 8-ho2Q ur time-weighted average
  • peak limitation
  • short-term exposure limit.

Flashpoint means the lowest temperature (corrected to a standard pressure of 101.3 kPa) at which the application of an ignition source causes the vapours of a liquid to ignite under specified test conditions.

GHS means the ‘Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals, 3rd Revised Edition, published by the United Nations as modified under Schedule 6 of the WHS Regulations.

Hazard means a situation or thing that can harm people, property or the environment. The GHS covers physicochemical, health and environmental hazards for hazardous chemicals.

Hazard category means a division of criteria within a hazard class in the GHS.

Hazard class means the nature of a physical, health or environmental hazard under the GHS. Note: This includes dangerous goods.

A hazard pictogram means a graphical composition, including a symbol plus other graphical elements, assigned in the GHS to a hazard class or category.

A hazard statement means a statement assigned in the GHS to a hazard class or category describing the nature of the hazards of a hazardous chemical, including, if appropriate, the degree of hazard.

A hazardous chemical means a substance, mixture or article that satisfies the criteria for a hazard class in the GHS (including classification in Schedule 6 of the WHS Regulations). Still, it does not include a substance, mixture or article that satisfies the criteria solely for one of the following hazard classes:

  • acute toxicity—oral—category 5;
  • acute toxicity—dermal—category 5;
  • acute toxicity—inhalation—category 5;
  • skin corrosion/irritation—category 3;
  • serious eye damage/eye irritation— Category 2B;
  • aspiration hazard—category 2;
  • flammable gas—category 2;
  • acute hazard to the aquatic environment—category 1, 2 or 3;
  • chronic hazard to the aquatic environment—category 1, 2, 3 or 4;
  • hazardous to the ozone layer.

Note: The Schedule 6 tables replace some tables in the GHS.

Hazchem Code means ‘Hazchem Code’ under the ADG Code. Also known as the Emergency Action Code.

The label means written, printed or graphical information concerning a hazardous chemical that is affixed to, printed on, or attached to the container of a hazardous chemical.

Manufacture includes the activities of packing, repacking, formulating, blending, mixing, making, remaking and synthesizing of the chemical.

Mixture means a combination of or a solution composed of, two or more substances that do not react with each other.

Placard means a sign or notice:

  1. displayed or intended for display in a prominent place, or next to a container or storage area for hazardous chemicals at a workplace
  2. that contains information about the hazardous chemical stored in the container or storage area.

Placard quantity means the quantity referred to in Schedule 11 of the WHS Regulations, table 11.1, column 4 for that hazardous chemical. Note: This schedule has been replicated in Appendix D of this Code.

Precautionary Statement means a phrase prescribed by the GHS that describes measures that are recommended to be taken to prevent or minimise the adverse effects of exposure to a hazardous chemical or the improper handling of a hazardous chemical.

Substance means a chemical element or compound in its natural state or obtained or generated by a process:

  • Including any additive necessary to preserve the stability of the element or compound and any impurities deriving from the process, but
  • Excluding any solvent that may be separated without affecting the stability of the element or compound or changing its composition.

Supply includes selling or transferring ownership or responsibility for a chemical.

Similar Posts

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *