Chemical topics

Here you can find information on important elements of chemicals risk management in companies under the relevant headlines of Chemical topics. The presented information is intended for companies in the Baltic States. Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian versions of the texts take into consideration national peculiarities, if any, although the main presented requirements stem from EU legislation.

The analysed elements of chemicals management are outlined in the figure below:

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Acquisition of chemicals

The used chemicals should not be chosen accidentally without prior evaluation of their hazards and necessary safety measures in addition to the necessary technological characteristics. 

Classification, labelling, safety data sheets

All risk management work needs information on the used chemicals. Producers and importers are obliged to transfer knowledge on chemicals by classifying and labelling them and providing them with safety data sheets. Users of chemicals have a right to obtain hazard information from suppliers and a duty to use it when choosing and handling chemicals.

Inventory

An inventory is a convenient way of keeping knowledge on chemicals in enterprises, and it is able to serve purposes as various as risk assessment, different reporting needs, etc.

Substitution

Risk assessment sets the priorities for the implementation of risk reduction measures, i.e. it shows where to start avoiding the adverse effects of chemicals on workers’ and consumers’ health, safety and environment. The substitution of hazardous chemicals by less hazardous alternatives is the prime risk reduction measure. 

Storage

Improper storage of chemicals causes risk to human health, environment and property, therefore storages deserves a relevant attention.

Resource efficiency

Chemicals management may benefit from resource efficiency measures, as these not only enhance cost savings, but reduce risks due to reduced amounts of used chemicals, of emissions, and of waste.

Disposal

  • Disposal / hazardous waste
  • Waste to substance

Chemicals might be a reason for waste to be classified as hazardous, resulting in special storage and disposal requirements. Returning materials/ substances from waste back to economy circle should be implemented whenever possible.

Communication

Improving the internal communication about chemical risks contributes to minimising risks by raising general awareness and care in the handling of chemicals.
Communication methods include written information (worker instructions, procedures, information boards, etc.) as well as training programmes or regular safety instructions or exercises (e.g. fire alarm).

External communication about chemicals complements the company internal management elements on chemicals risks.
External communication can be directed towards:

  • the general public, clients, suppliers and producers of chemicals (distribution),
  • state authorities (communication with authorities / reporting).

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