Around 40 % of European companies work with biological and chemical substances in their working places.
According to the Spanish Government, the activities with the highest accident rate related to dangerous substances are the manufacturing, construction and agricultural industries. And according to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, the danger has increased due to the arrival of the nanomaterials to the industry.
Workers may be exposed to contaminants that can affect them mainly through ocular, respiratory, digestive or dermal routes. An inadequate protection can provoke serious health problems that may last over time: professional illnesses, severe skin inflammation, cancer…
For this reason, it is quite recommendable to make a risk evaluation and repeat it periodically in order to identify and manage dangerous substances by means of collective protection systems, as well as PPE (personal protective equipments) intended for the people of your company.
Personal Protective Equipments
In order to protect your workers, you must know the type and dimension of the risks. And after identifying the risks and introducing the collective protection systems, you must choose the kind of PPE you require, which involves you to know the regulations and analyse the casuistry of each work and each worker:
Hands and feet protection: resistant gloves, creams and footwear to protect from the risks caused by contact.
Protective clothing: tight suits to avoid the risks caused by contact with solid, liquid or gaseous substances.
Eyes protection: safety screens to protect the eyes from splatters and particles projected at high speed.
Respiratory protection: safety masks to protect from inhalation and the absence of oxygen.
Workers have to face every day some chemical risks when handling products that can be more or less dangerous (acids, solvents, oils…). There are more than 100,000 chemical substances catalogued and identified by their CAS number.
In order to choose the working gloves to protect from chemical substances, you must take into account the category of the chemical product that will be handled, the time, the level of dexterity it requires, etc. Thanks to its professional team, Juba helps you to find and select the most convenient gloves according to the regulations and tests that must be accomplished.
The EN 374:2016 regulation sets the requirements for working gloves made to protect from chemical products and microorganisms.
There are gloves that protect from microorganisms (bacteria and fungus) complying with the EN 374-2:2014 regulation (air and water leaks) since they analyse the air or water tightness. Likewise, there are gloves that even protect from virus complying with the ISO 16604 regulation against the infiltration of Phi-X174 bacteriophages found in the blood.
Juba makes three types of tests: infiltration, degradation and permeability.
Juba provides a complete range of gloves made for the different chemical risks, both throwaway and made of different materials: latex, nitrile, PVC, neoprene… The company offers comprehensive advice and information about the gloves that each company or worker requires according to the risk and exposition.
Juba has recently launched a line of throwaway work clothes with different levels of protection to cover the needs of each working activity that can suppose a health hazard, and the cases in which the worker must be protected from chemical products.
The correct management of dangerous substances is not only an obligation for all the companies, but an important benefit for the security of the workers. In Europe, the costs of the exposition to carcinogenic agents during work are estimated around 2,400 million of euros per year according to an article by Euronews in collaboration with the European Commission.
Therefore, increasing the investment on management and control of dangerous substances would reduce significantly these costs. As a matter of fact, it would suppose great benefits as well as a significant motivation for workers, which subsequently means an increase on the productivity. This implies an inferior staff turnover, and consequently, a higher professionalisation.
The risk assessment is the first step on prevention according to the European Union legislation. There is a procedure you must follow in order to make an evaluation of your working place:
First, you must make an inventory with the dangerous substances and the ones that are generated throughout different processes: combustion, gas leaks, metal fumes, oil mists, formaldehydes, organic vapours, recycled products from residues…
Secondly, you must collect information about the management of dangerous products: chemical, biological, carcinogenic substances…
Thirdly, you must evaluate the exposition of your workers to dangerous substances according to the type, intensity, duration, effect and frequency.
Finally, you must design an action plan by steps to manage the substances by priority. The elimination or substitution is the first alternative. If it is not possible, you must reduce the exposition. And the last option is the use of specific protective equipment for dangerous substances.