As a manager, who do I need to consult with?
A manager must consult with his/her employees on all safety matters, including chemical risk assessments. Effective consultation of risk management will enable a preventative culture, will foster a universal responsibility and act as a risk champion across an department/service. Other professionals who can provide assistance in chemical safety management may include:
- Local Safety Representatives
- Safety Professionals
- The National Health and Safety Function
- Occupational Health and
- Occupational Hygienists, as required.
Consultation with your employees is necessary at every step of the risk assessment process (from a cradle to grave approach) and especially when implementing the findings of your chemical risk assessment. By communicating with employees you can also ensure that they:
- understand what is expected of them to work safely;
- know who is responsible for implementing any additional controls; and
- are encouraged to monitor the effectiveness of the control measures in place and communicate with management if they feel additional control measures are required.
National Health & Safety Function:
The National Health and Safety Function have competent Health and Safety Advisors with the knowledge, experience and familiarity with the risk assessment process to assist you with your chemical management system.
If you require any advice or support in relation to chemical safety please contact the helpdesk.
Occupational exposure limits (OELs) have been determined for a number of chemicals which are documented in an approved Code of Practice. These chemicals will be identified at the "Review all Chemicals" stage and should be documented in your chemical inventory. Where chemicals have OELs, managers are required to ensure that exposure limit values set are not exceeded.
Where appropriate, managers must ensure that monitoring is conducted regularly and when any change occurs in the conditions which may affect employees' exposure to hazardous chemical agents. This is not necessary if it can be demonstrated that adequate prevention and protection measures have been taken to prevent risk.
Within the HSE, the routine work of the Occupational Hygienist is to;
- monitor exposure levels
- identify compliance with the statutory Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs) and
- make recommendations on the reduction of exposure levels.
A list of Occupational Hygienists can be retrieved by contacting the HSE's Health & Safety helpdesk. For more information on Occupational Hygiene, click here.
Occupational Health can provide Health Surveillance programmes. Health surveillance is important for:
- detecting ill-health effects at an early stage, so employers can introduce better controls to prevent them getting worse
- providing data to help employers evaluate health risks
- enabling employees to raise concerns about how work affects their health
- highlighting lapses in workplace control measures, therefore providing invaluable feedback to the risk assessment and
- providing an opportunity to reinforce training and education of employees (e.g. the impact on health effects and use of protective equipment).
Risk assessment should identify the need for health surveillance. Health surveillance should not be a substitute for undertaking a risk assessment or using effective controls but can sometimes be used to help identify if more controls are required. Where early signs of work-related ill health are detected, employers should take action to prevent further harm and protect employees.
If an employee has any symptoms of chemical exposure, a referral can be made to Occupational Health for review. For further details, click Occupational Health Department.
A manager may consult with a Safety Representative locally if one has been selected/elected. For further information on the role of a Safety Representative, please click here.