Chemical Safety at the Workplace

Before discussing further on hazardous substances at the workplace, the main regulations relating to chemicals at the workplace are as follows:

  1. Law No.1 Year 1970 on Occupational Safety;
  2. Decree of the Minister of Manpower No. Kep. 187/MEN/1999 on the Control of Hazardous Chemicals in the Workplace;
  3. Decree of the Director General of PPK No. Kep. 84/ PPK/X/2012 on the Procedures for the Preparation of Document of Control of Potential of Large and Medium Hazard;
  4. Regulation of the Minister of Industry No. 87/M-IND/ PER/9/2009 concerning Global Harmonized System on Classification and Labeling on Chemicals.

Hazardous chemicals according to Article 1 of the Minister of Manpower Decree No. KEP. 187/MEN/ 1999 is substances in the form of single or mixture based on chemical and physical properties and or toxicology hazardous to employees, installation and environment. The respective regulation also stipulates that employer using, storing, producing and transporting chemicals or hazardous substances at the workplace should establish and implement a control system to prevent and or reduce the risk of harmful chemicals to their worker’s health and safety, work equipment and the environment.

Chemical and hazardous substances control measures typically include:

1.Provision of Material Safety Data Sheet (LDKB)

MSDS is an instruction sheet containing information on the physical, chemical properties of hazardous substances, the types of hazards that can be inflicted, how to handle and specific actions relating to emergencies in the handling of hazardous substances. MSDS should be posted at the workplace, at conspicuous places. The document is generally listed the following information:

  • Identity of Materials and Company
  • Material Composition
  • Hazard Identification
  • First aid measures
  • Fire Fighting Measures
  • Overcoming Leakage and Spillage Measures
  • Material Storage and Handling
  • Exposure Control and Personal Protective Equipment
  • Physical and Chemical Properties
  • Material Stability and Reactivity
  • Toxicological information
  • Ecological Information
  • Waste Disposal
  • Material Transportation
  • Regular Information on respective regulations
  • Other required information.

2.Provision of Labels.

Labelling is a marking of images/symbols, letters/writings, a combination of both or any other form attached to a hazardous substance, inserted into, pinned, or contained on the packaging of the hazardous substance.  According to the Global Harmonization System (GHS), label should be provided on chemicals and hazardous substances.  Labels usually consist of the following information:

  • Product Name
  • Hazard Identity
  • Signs of Danger and Its Meaning
  • Description of risks and mitigation
  • Precautions
  • Instruction in case of exposure and exposure
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Spill and leakage instructions
  • Filling and storage instructions
  • Reference name, address and phone number of the manufacturer and / or distributor.

3.Appointment of OHS chemical officer and chemical expert.

Companies or industries using hazardous chemicals exceeding the chemical threshold value must appoint at least 2 Chemical Safety Officers in the case of a non-shift working time system, and at least 5 persons in the case of a shift working time system. In addition, they must have at least chemical experts.

Companies or industries that use hazardous chemicals below the chemical threshold value must have at least 1 Chemical Safety Officer in the case of a non-shift working time system, and at least 3 in the case of a shift working time system.

4. Selecting and Providing Appropriate Control Measures.

If chemical and hazardous substances are crucial for production so that eliminating them could not be done, companies should manage exposure by using the hierarchy of control. From substituting chemical with a safer version, isolating it, using engineering control, implement administrative control and then using personal protective equipment as the last resort.

Companies should first indentify hazard level before selecting a control measure appropriate for their case.

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