There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to staying safe around chemicals. Obviously, we’re most concerned with hazchem signs, emergency information panels (EIPs), dangerous goods signs and labels and other workplace safety signs.
However, they’re just one part of the safety equation – if you want to keep your site, team and visitors safe from chemical-related dangers, you’ll also want to set up a range of other measures such as:
- Obtaining safety data sheets (SDS)
- Putting in place emergency plans
- Physical barriers
- Emergency spill kits
Today however, we’re going to focus on one measure in particular: hazchem safety meetings.
We all know that regular hazchem safety meetings are crucial to keeping your team safe. But how often should these meetings be held? And when is the best time to hold a refresher?
Every time you start stocking a new type of chemical
Each chemical is different – that’s why there are so many different UN numbers out there, as well as hazchem subclasses!
All of these different chemicals has unique:
- Hazards and risks
- Handling methods
- Emergency cleanup processes
- Disposal techniques
- Levels of required PPE
And what better way to communicate all of this new information than with a hazchem safety meeting?
We know, we know, it isn’t exactly “fun” – however, it’s crucial if your team is going to stay safe around your new stock.
While you’re here, why not arrange a hazchem safety refresher as well when you add a new chemical to your inventory?
After all, if your team is going to have to turn up to the meeting to learn how to stay safe around the new chemicals you’re dealing with, why not package that in with a refresher on your existing chemical inventory as well?
When you bring on new hires
Even if your new hire has worked with hazardous chemicals in the past, that’s no guarantee that they know what to do with your inventory. That’s why it’s so important that each new hire goes through the full safety training process, hazchem safety meeting included (and a legal requirement, at that).
Your induction process should include a lengthy safety training program, with particular focus on chemical safety around the particular substances you work with on a daily basis.
Be sure to walk them through each of the chemicals their role will see them working with, mandatory PPE as well as how to safely respond to a chemical emergency.
If it’s been a while since you did your last refresher, it might even be worth assigning some of your current team members to lead this particular part of the orientation process.
By making your team take care of this step, it also forces them to brush up on their knowledge of your hazchem policies as well – it’s a win-win situation!
When you update your emergency plans
New chemicals can often mean updating your emergency plans, as well as adding new PPE and disposal kits to your existing inventory.
In order for all of these new techniques to work however, it’s important that your team knows how to use them.
And that’s where your hazchem safety course comes into the picture.
Emails can slip between the cracks, and the company message board can be ignored. The only way to make sure that everyone knows what they need to do is with a safety meeting.
Every time you update your emergency procedure, spill policy or any other handling rules, it should be communicated with your team, ideally through a hazchem safety plan that they can’t miss.
If it’s been a while since last time
It’s important that you hold regular refreshers on hazchem safety. If it’s been a while since your previous one, it might be time for you to arrange a quick refresher.
It doesn’t have to be as long as the hazchem safety meeting that comes with your induction process – just make sure that everyone goes through some sort of refresher every once in a while.
Some good times include:
- After the Christmas shutdown
- During a quiet period
- Periods when other recertifications are required
When holding a refresher course, just remember…
… not to make it too long
Any refresher course takes up time, which could be spent getting to work. You’ll want to keep things to a reasonable timeframe so that you don’t eat up too much of their time.
Luckily, this won’t be an issue if your team paid good attention during their initial induction, your refresher won’t need to be very long – which is a good thing!
… time it right
Ideally, you’ll want to time any refreshers for quieter periods – not only does this reduce the disruption to your operations, but it also means that you’ll be able to spend more time going over hazchem essentials.
Quiet seasons are a great time – another time is immediately before or after holiday shutdowns, especially if most of your clients and customers are already winding things down.
… back it up with workplace safety signs
You can’t hold a hazchem refresher every single day. But you can ensure that the key points are at the front of your team’s minds with workplace safety signs.
If you want, you can even order custom safety signs detailing your exact policies!
With the right signage system, you ensure that everyone knows what they need to do around chemicals, while also reducing the need for further refresher courses.
We’ve got all of your safety signs covered
From hazchem signs, to EIPs, to other workplace safety signs, Signsmart has you covered
Hazchem safety meetings are just one part of the equation – while they’re important, you can’t rely entirely on occasional meetings to get the job done.
On an everyday level, a lot of the heavy lifting will be done by – you guessed it – workplace safety signs.
What sets Signsmart apart from the rest?
- Fast nation-wide delivery
- Industry-leading turnaround times
- Huge range of signs
That includes for custom workplace safety signs, with either templates or clean-sheet designs – whatever you need to get the safety message across!
Our mission is simple: to help keep your workplace safe from hazardous goods and all the risks that they come with.
You can also visit us for hazchem signs in Melbourne: pop into our office at 122 Whitehall Street, Footscray, VIC 3011.