14 Aug Survey of Chemical Usage
The Health and Safety Authority commissioned a Chemicals Usage Survey to assist in the implementation of the Authority’s strategy of ensuring the safe and sustainable use of chemicals.
An analysis by NISO from the study show the following conclusions of the survey conducted in 2012 :
- 80% of respondents did use chemicals on-site, whilst 20% of survey participants claimed not to use chemicals. So it can be concluded that in 2012 the majority of SMEs in the sample did use some form of chemicals in their workplace.
- there is a lack of knowledge regarding what is defined as a chemical in the SME sector – 22% did not know their role in the chemical supply chain and 21% were not aware of the REACH Regulation.
- 67%, use Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) for all hazardous chemicals on site; 59% maintain a chemical inventory and 43% complete a risk assessment on specific chemicals used in the workplace. So while 67% have SDSs, indicating that they use chemicals, only 43% complete chemical risk assessments. Therefore, 24% of chemical users do not have any form of chemical risk assessments for chemicals used in the workplace.
- 26% did not maintain any details of chemicals on-site.
- One respondent’s comment that their company “only use domestic chemicals – these are suitable for the general public to use” again highlights that there may be a lack of understanding of chemical risk assessment in the workplace for general use chemicals.
- 66% of respondents considered themselves to be downstream users within the chemical supply chain. 17% of respondents claimed to be distributors. Importers, manufacturers and only representatives (OR) received low responses at 7%, 4% and 2% respectively. 22% of participants admitted to not knowing what role they played in the chemical supply chain.
- 13% of companies stated that they sourced from a non-EU supplier, indicating that they import chemicals. However, from above we see that only 7% of respondents stated that they were importers, with an additional 2% acting as only representatives. Therefore, there may be a number of companies importing chemicals who are unaware of either their role in the supply chain or their obligations under the legislation.
- 21% of respondents were not aware of REACH and another 13% did not understand their role under the Regulation.
- 68% of respondents were aware of the Regulation and of the new hazard pictograms and labelling statements. 32% were not aware of this Regulation.
- the most commonly encountered high risk chemicals were skin sensitisers (H317/R43), with 47% of respondents claiming to use them, followed by respiratory sensitisers (H334/R42) at 28%.
Download the 2012 Chemical survey here
Source: Health and Safety Authority