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Founded in 1992 Different theme every year Promotes safe and healthy work across all European Member States Coordinated by European Agency for Safety and Health based in Bilbao Run in the UK by Health and Safety Executive (HSE)


Why Dangerous Substances? The worldwide picture: Approx 825,000 deaths from work related illness every year 160 million live with an industrial disease


Across Europe: 350 million working days lost 7 million victims of industrial disease 1 in 6 workers handle dangerous substances 1 in 5 report breathing in fumes and vapours 1 in 4 exposed to cancer-causing agents


In the UK 575,000 people made ill by exposure to dangerous substances 66,000 with a work related skin disease Every year 7,000 people contract occupational asthma 6,000 people die from work related cancer including 5000 deaths from past asbestos exposure


Dangerous Substances Allergens – causes of allergic reactions Biological agents – bacteria, virus, parasites and fungi Carcinogens – cancer causing agents Mineral dusts causing cancers and respiratory disease Vegetable dusts causing asthma, allergic reactions and cancers Toxic chemicals and agents causing neurological and reproductive disorders, cancers and poisoning.


UK Law covering dangerous substances at work includes Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977 Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002


Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 Employers must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of their employees. This includes the ‘safety and absence of risks to health in connection with the use, handling, storage and transport of articles and substances’. (HSW 74 Part 1 Section 2b)


Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 Assess the risks to which employees are exposed at work. Ensure employers comply with all health and safety laws and regulations. Comply with the law on the basis of the general ‘principles of prevention’


Safety Representative & Safety Committees Regulations 1977 Trade Union Safety Representatives have the legal right to:  Investigate potential hazards at work and investigate complaints by any employee they represent relating to that employee's health, safety or welfare at work; Inspect the workplace at least once every three months or when the Health and Safety Executive publish new information relevant to the hazards found in the workplace. Inspect and take copies of any document relevant to the workplace or to the employees the Safety Rep represents. This includes copies of COSHH and risk assessments.


Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 ‘An employer shall not carry out work which is liable to expose any employees to any substance hazardous to health unless he has made a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risk created by that work to the health of those employees and of the steps that need to be taken to meet the requirements of these Regulations;’ (COSHH Regulation 6,1a)


Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 The requirements of these regulations include ‘that the exposure of his employees to substances hazardous to health is either prevented or, where this is not reasonably practicable, adequately controlled.’ (COSHH Regulation 7,1)


Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 Employers must, where reasonably practicable, eliminate completely the use or production of substances hazardous to health in the workplace. This might be achieved by: (a)   changing the method of work (b)   modifying the process (c)   substituting with a non-hazardous substance Where prevention of exposure to substances hazardous to health is not reasonably practicable, employers must comply to adequately control exposure. From COSHH Regulation 7


Elimination: the best way to reduce the risks from dangerous substances is to remove the need to use them by changing the process or product in which the substance is used.   Substitution: substitute the dangerous substance with a less hazardous one or change the process to reduce the risks if elimination is not possible.   Control: if a dangerous substance process cannot be eliminated or substituted then exposure must be prevented or controlled. Hierarchy of Controls


Enclosing the process emitting the dangerous substance. Changing the management of the process to better control emissions. Utilising technical solutions to minimise concentration of dangerous substances in the exposure zone. Organisational measures such as minimising the number of workers exposed and the duration and intensity of exposure. Use of Personal Protective Equipment [always the last resort]. [Source: European Agency for safety and Health at Work] Control Methods


The TUC ESCAPE Route from Dangerous Substances Eliminate Substitute Control And Prevent Exposure


ELIMINATE Can you stop using or producing the substance? Can you stop the process or use a different method? Do you need to use caustic soda if elbow grease will do the job? Would you need to grind down components if the first cut was accurate? Do you need to keep motor vehicle engines running while stationary at the depot? Can you replace a diesel vehicle with an electric one? PREVENT EXPOSURE TUC ESCAPE Route DANGEROUS SUBSTANCE YES NO NEXT STEP SUBSTITUTE


ELIMINATE PREVENT EXPOSURE DANGEROUS SUBSTANCE YES TUC ESCAPE Route SUBSTITUTE Can you use safe alternatives? Can you use a safe process? Do you need to use chemical cleaners if soap and water will do the job? Can you use a vacuum instead of sweeping? Can your supplier provide you with safer chemicals with a similar performance? Can you obtain raw materials in solid pellet form instead of a dusty powder? NO NO NEXT STEP CONTROL


PREVENT EXPOSURE DANGEROUS SUBSTANCE TUC ESCAPE Route SUBSTITUTE ELIMINATE CONTROL Can you separate people from the substance? Can you reduce exposure to a safe level? For example: Can you restrict chemical cleaning to when the least workers are on site? Can you use water when cutting or grinding to create sludge instead of dust? Can you contain the process in a sealed vessel? Can you restrict access to the environment through a safe system of work? NO YES




Summary Exposure to dangerous substances: Kills thousands of workers Causes disease in millions of others Is illegal Is preventable Follow the TUC ESCAPE Route to Eliminate Substitute Control and Prevent Exposure to Dangerous Substances

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