Chemical products

The risks of handling chemical products must be assessed and documented, and measures must be taken to reduce risks to the environment and working environment. Hazardous chemical products must also be classified and labelled according to the EU's CLP ordinance, and the hazard must be indicated by labels and safety data sheets.

It is desirable that the operations work to reduce the use of, substitute, and phase out particularly hazardous substances.

Storage

  • Substances or products that could emit gases or vapours that are dangerous to health must be stored in ventilated spaces.
  • If there is a risk of violent reactions among different types of substances, these must be stored separately.
  • If there is a risk for leakage or spills from containers or packaging, there must be methods for taking care of the spill and routines for preventing spills and leakage.
  • Substances that entail major risks – poisonous substances, for example – must be stored in locked spaces.

In the laboratory, spills and leakage of chemicals is an evident risk. A good way to handle spills and leakage that occurs is to assemble a spill box. A plastic box with a tight-fitting lid is suitable for use. Items, for example, such as single-use protective clothing (gloves, goggles, respiratory protective equipment, aprons), drying cloths, absorbents, and broom and dustpan go into the box – in other words, everything deemed necessary to take care of and clean up a spill of the chemicals used in a given laboratory. After cleanup, all soiled material is put into the box, which is sealed and can be sent away as hazardous waste.

Allergenic substances

Locations where allergenic chemical products with hazard statements H317 and H334 are handled must be clearly indicated, as well as which protective measures are to be taken when handling these, when personal protective equipment is to be worn, and how the function of work equipment is to be checked and maintained. Premises with open handling of hazardous allergenic products must have signs put up, and employees must be informed of how the work can safely be carried out. Handling the allergenic chemical products listed below requires special training and training certificates:

  1. diisocyanates;
  2. epoxy plastic components;
  3. organic acid halogenides;
  4. formaldehyde resins;
  5. methacrylates or acrylates that must be labelled with H317 or H334; and
  6. during work involving thermal decomposition that releases isocyanates, or processes that release formaldehyde.
  7. during work with certain allergenic chemical products containing ethyl-2-cyanoacrylate or methyl-2-cyanoacrylate, if the work is in progress for more than 30 minutes per week. As of 1 June 2017, an employer that allows someone without a training certificate to lead or perform work in contravention of the above shall pay an administrative penalty of SEK 10,000 for each such person; see Section 52 (AFS 2014:43).

Group A substances

It is forbidden to handle group A chemical substances (according to AFS 2014:43) if these form >0.1 weight per cent a product (for erionite, >1 weight per cent). There are exceptions – for example, a permit can be obtained from the Swedish Work Environment Authority for research into the effects of a carcinogenic substance, or for development of analysis methods. The employer who handles one or more chemical substances or products in contravention of the requirements may be required to pay an administrative penalty. For those with 500 or more employees, the penalty is SEK 400,000.

Group B substances

Group B chemical substances (according to AFS 2014:43) with a content of >1 weight per cent require a permit from the Swedish Work Environment Authority for handling. There are exceptions, for example stocks of unbroken original packaging prior to sale or transport. The employer who handles one or more chemical substances or products in contravention of the requirements may be required to pay an administrative penalty. For those with 500 or more employees, the penalty is SEK 150,000.

Especially hazardous chemical substances

Sales and private use of especially hazardous products (Länsstyrelsen/Chemicals and chemical products), as well as of a number of substances according to Reach Appendix XIV require permits. There are also limitations to use of a number of substances listed in Reach Appendix XVII. The REACH Regulation.

CMR classified chemicals

Carcinogenic, mutagenic, and reprotoxic (CMR) chemicals may only be handled if there is a documented investigation showing that it is not technically possible to replace the product with other chemical products that are less harmful. An investigation of this type must be attached to the risk assessment. Employees exposed to such levels of CMR substances as entail a risk of ill health shall be registered, and the information saved for 40 years.

H350: May cause cancer
H340: May cause genetic defects
H360: May damage fertility or the unborn child
R45: May cause cancer
R46: May cause hereditary genetic defects
R49: May cause cancer by inhalation
R60: May damage fertility
R61: May damage the unborn child

A CMR-classed chemical product may only be handled if there is a documented investigation showing that it is not technically possible to replace the product with another chemical product that constitutes a lesser risk. If the investigation concludes that it is not possible to replace the CM-classed product, local routines and rules must be drawn up for how the work is to be carried out, and written risk assessments must be made before the work is begun. The following information must be indicated in the documentation:

  1. The locations and spaces in which the product may be found, as well as what measures are to be taken so that only people needed for the work are there.
  2. What protective measures are necessary to ensure that exposure is minimal.
  3. Which situations personal protective equipment is required in.
  4. How handling of and function in equipment, processes, or ventilation are to be monitored so that discrepancies that could entail increased risk are detected early on.

Form for investigation of CMR

Inadequate routines and near-accidents could involve increased exposure to these substances, which in turn could lead to ill health over the short or long term.

Registers

Employees who are exposed to carcinogens and mutagens must be registered if the exposure could be harmful and if the substances could entail a risk of ill health. This could, for example, apply to work with CMR substances where technical measures are not sufficient to avoid harmful exposure, or if increased exposure has occurred or been measured, for example due to ventilation being unsatisfactory. The task of the registry is to facilitate investigations into links to illness and must therefore be saved in a safe place for 40 years, counting from the day the exposure comes to an end. The operations manager is responsible for establishing the register.

  • Carcinogenic substances – substances/products that, according to CLP, are classified as H350 (May cause cancer) or alternately (according to KIFS 2005:7) as R45 (May cause cancer) and R49 (May cause cancer by inhalation)
  • Mutagenic substances – substances/products that, according to CLP, are classified as H340 or alternately (according to KIFS 2005:7) as R46 (May cause genetic defects).

The register must contain:

  • The name of the employee.
  • Work tasks, and the period in which the work was carried out.
  • Which substances the employee was exposed to.
  • Measured or estimated degree of exposure.

The person responsible for establishing the register and storing it safely is the operations manager.

Frida Fjellström
9/30/2021