Accidents in the workplace happen. Ignorance about safety in the workplace, however, is inexcusable. In Australia, the sixth leading cause of workplace injury is from burns, with 2,490 claims made per year. Of this, 935 comprise chemical burns and other hazardous substances.
Chemical burns account for 30 per cent of burns-associated death, and can be associated with significant physical, psychological, social and economic burden. For those injured, the recovery can be painful and costly, with implications not only for the individual but for their family, their colleagues and even the community at large.
In the modern Australian working context, there are stringent safety codes set by law for those working with hazardous substances. These regulations ensure that lawful practices are maintained and that the correct equipment and information is accessible to those working with dangerous goods and substances.
The question for managers to consider though is one about minimising risk. Besides adhering to the regulations, what actions can an employer take to minimise the risk of employees working with hazardous substances?
This white paper tackles this question, with a discussion of relevant Australian standards, safety systems and equipment that can minimise the impact of workplace accidents. It also provides examples and context to injury from people working with hazardous substances, with the aim to provide readers with a clear insight into good practice.