Keeping a lid on dangerous substances in the workplace

Monday 22 October 2018 marks the start of the European Week for Safety and Health at Work. This year’s campaign aims to raise awareness of the risks posed by dangerous substances in the workplace, to promote a culture of prevention to eliminate or effectively manage risks, and to provide information on policy developments and relevant legislation.

The campaign has been organised by EU-OSHA, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work; with events due to take place in over 30 countries across the continent to raise awareness of the risks. According to Roadmap on Carcinogens, occupational exposure to carcinogens causes almost 80,000 deaths per year across Europe, so it’s clear that action needs to be taken at workplaces to reduce the impact on workers, their families and wider society.

The statistics presented by OSHA demonstrate the scale of the problem:

 


At Lloyd’s Register, improving workplace safety has been at the core of what we do for over 250 years. Our voice on Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S), Steve Williams commented, “Often it is failing to understand the risks that leads to incidents and results in harm being caused. If you don’t appreciate the risks of what you are handling then the chances are you won’t know what to do if an incident occurs,” adding: “Having an OH&S management system requires you to identify the risks associated with such substances and to put in place solutions to eliminate or reduce the risks. With ISO 45001 this means utilising the hierarchy of controls to look at ways to eliminate the use of the substance or substitute a safer alternative, before considering what else could be done to make workers safe.”

The Healthy Workplaces Campaign has a three-step model for managing dangerous substances:

To find out more about the activities taking place near you, visit https://healthy-workplaces.eu/en/get-involved and join the conversation on social media using #EUhealthyworkplaces #DangerousSubstances.

LR has a wealth of resources to meet your organisations’ challenges in workplace health and safety, including a range of ISO 45001:2018 assessment and training options to help you get the most from your OH&S management system.