How To Reduce Workplace Safety Risks When Involved in Chemical Manufacturing
Chemical manufacturing and the use of toxic chemicals in the workplace can present serious health and safety risks to your team and the environment. While many engineering controls are in place to prevent the risks of using chemicals, organizational leaders must practice extreme diligence to protect their workers.
One challenge is understanding the evolving risks of chemical manufacturing, especially considering that chemical formulas frequently change and exposure can present long-term health effects that are not obvious today.
The below resources aim to help you better understand and mitigate potential risks of chemical exposure, including how an Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety (OEHS) professional can help.
Long-term Health Effects of Chemical Exposure
Occupational hygiene and exposure controls can significantly impact worker productivity and protect them from the risks of handling dangerous chemicals—which, in turn, protects the business from workers’ compensation suits and other legal issues.
Workers in tire and rubber manufacturing plants, for example, are at risk of adverse respiratory effects, dermatologic effects, reproductive effects, injuries, and repetitive trauma disorders if they fail to handle the chemicals associated with their work safely. Years after working in tire and rubber manufacturing plants, deaths from bladder, stomach, lung, hematopoietic, and other cancers have occurred.
OEHS Professionals Are An Essential Line of Defense
OEHS professionals are trained to identify potential workplace chemical and physical hazards and address biohazards that can cause injury, illness, chronic conditions, and death. They do this by applying workplace technology and using data and expert risk assessment strategies to define and implement the engineering, administrative, and personal protective equipment controls needed for prevention.
By investing in OEHS support (known traditionally as industrial hygienists), your team can effectively mitigate workers' risks and protect your business from costly health incidents or legal concerns. This provides a competitive edge by reducing the direct and indirect costs caused by workplace hazards, including equipment damage, lawsuits, medical expenses, and more.
How Can OEHS Professionals Support Chemical Manufacturing Organizations?
One of the best ways to understand the benefits of OEHS professionals in protecting chemical manufacturing organizations is to hear from executives from real organizations.
Below are just a few testimonials of how OEHS professionals have been instrumental in safeguarding chemical manufacturing employees from the health and safety risks they face:
At McGean, we manufacture a broad range of specialty chemicals. Our OEHS professionals ensure that health and safety are integrated into all facets of the company and part of our culture. They provide training for manufacturing personnel in handling hazardous chemicals, facilitate implementation of regulations and ensure we are up to date on the latest technologies. Having an OEHS member on your team is a cost of entry into the business. If you are not doing these things you are not sustainable."
David HurderCOO • McGean, manufacturer of specialty chemicals
Having a health, safety and environmental specialist on the team ensures our employees are safe, and knowledgeable about and trained in the materials they are handling. The more employees understand the materials they work with and ultimately the end-use, the safer they are and the more engaged they are in the business. There is no question that having an HSE professional on our staff reduces risk to our employees and the environment and ultimately has a positive impact on the bottom line."
Clinton BeelandPresident and CEO • CJB Industries, a contract chemical manufacturing company
We rely on professional OEHS input and guidance primarily to assist with risk assessment to ensure safety of our staff (and neighbors) with planned operations (from R&D through to manufacture). The bottom line is immeasurable since there may be no second chance if we get it wrong…!"
Dr. Danny LevinPresident • Norac Pharma
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