Chemical Safety – The Daily Demands of Working with Chemicals

28th February 2014

Manufacturing

Chemical Safety

When you’re dealing with potentially dangerous goods such as chemicals on a day-to-day basis, there are certain precautions and guidelines you have to follow to avoid serious risk to yourself or others. Some of these just require common sense, but you might be surprised at how much planning and detail goes on behind the scenes at a chemical manufacturer.

Different Industries have Different Demands

ReAgent supplies a countless mix of industries that all present a range of varied demands, which we have to carefully follow.

One example is the automotive industry. We’re often asked to sign PPAP documents (Production Parts Approval Process) to ensure clients can meet the stringent requirements of their automobile customers. One aspect of this document includes making sure every process has been thoroughly planned out and doing tests to ensure consistency of the products. We do everything we can to make sure we don’t compromise the key priority, safety.

We are sometimes asked to sign non-disclosure agreements. We deal with clients that trust us with their innovative products, and they have to be confident that this is safe in the hands of ReAgent. The non-disclosure agreements are a promise that formulations, methods or specific manufacturing processes will not be shared with other customers.

Chemical Hazards in the Workplace

Every day, each member of staff at ReAgent wears PPE at some point, such as a high-visibility jacket, safety goggles and sometimes particular footwear.

For the Production Team, it’s vital that they’re aware of chemical hazards. With no exceptions, they must know what is safe to handle, and what requires protective clothing before handling. Any slip-ups could lead to skin burns or other injuries. One particular nasty chemical is hydrofluoric acid (HF). Wherever HF is involved, everyone on the premises must be notified and the working area must be cordoned off. Only one member of the team deals with the chemical and he has to wear a full protective suit.

One drop of HF on your skin can burn through bone marrow and spread throughout the body, so we don’t need telling twice to stay away!

Chemical Safety

Sticking an address label on your eBay parcel might be straightforward enough, but in the chemical industry there are lots of conformities we have to strictly adhere to

Labelling and Packaging

Sticking an address label on your eBay parcel might be straightforward enough, but in the chemical industry there are lots of conformities we have to strictly adhere to before we can send a package on its way.

We follow the conditions set by GHS (Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals). This states that labels have to contain hazard information and symbols, as well as explain the protective measures that need to be put in place for each individual product.

There are other vital industry standards such as ‘transport labels’, which require that labels clearly state the class of a chemical substance and describe the hazards or danger levels. When products are finally sent off, we use ADR couriers for transporting dangerous goods. It’s important that our labels and packaging comply with BS56093, which signifies that we use durable ink so the product can be immersed in sea water for three months. This standard is put in place to be sure that if a product gets lost and is later recovered, the hazard and safety information will still be legible and won’t present an unknown threat to the handler.

When packaging our chemicals, we have to carefully consider the best material to use. For example, hydrofluoric acid will easily dissolve glass, so we use HDPE plastic instead. We also store chemicals in drums and have to be confident that the gases won’t expand and cause too much pressure on the drums, by topping the necessary containers with vented caps.

Setting Standards

In the manufacturing industry, there are certain specifications that companies have to meet. In the chemical manufacturing industry, meeting these standards can become even more crucial.

ReAgent’s customers can be assured that we consistently reach the necessary standards. We can provide Certificates of Analysis (CofA) for any product that has been tested to a specification. These are available at any time upon request or as a standard requirement to fulfilling orders. We also provide Certificates of Conformity (CofC) to demonstrate that a product has been manufactured in accordance with our rigorous quality system. REACH regulations dictate by law that suppliers of hazardous chemicals must provide an MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) for all substances and mixtures classified as hazardous.

We voluntarily invite customer audits. ReAgent’s doors are open for both existing and potential customers to visit us and audit our facilities. We always appreciate any suggested actions that customers may have, as we welcome any opportunity to continuously improve our manufacturing facility.

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