Chemical agents - Ingressi
Occupational use of chemical agents is regulated by legislation. Employers are required by law to protect their employees from the risks posed by chemical exposure.
Chemical agents - Yleistä
Occupational chemical agents include chemicals used at work, such as chemical raw materials and detergents, paints, oils, lubricants and waste oils used in the workplace. Chemical agents also include chemical exposure agents, such as fumes, vapours and exhaust fumes produced as a result of working. Hazardous chemical agents pose a risk to the health and safety of employees.
Employers need to identify any chemical risk factors present in the workplace, assess the risks posed to employees and take any necessary action to mitigate the risks. Risk assessment refers to a process of identifying the risks associated with each task in the workplace and deciding what action needs to be taken.
The handling of hazardous chemicals can also involve a risk of accidents. Examples of these substances include highly flammable and oxidising substances that can pose a risk of fire and explosion.
Risks can also be caused by incompatible substances that react with each other, producing excess pressure or heat or toxic gaseous compounds. These kinds of substance combinations include, among others, strong acids and flammable substances, oxidising and organic substances, various metals and acids.
Chemical agents - Työntekijälle
Always follow the work and safety instructions provided by your employer. Let your employer’s representative know about any issues immediately in accordance with the instructions you have been given. Your employer has a duty to tell you about the hazards associated with your work and provide advice on how to protect yourself against them.
If there are any dangerous chemicals present in your work environment, it is important that you act according to your employer’s instructions and protect yourself as instructed by your employer. The effects of exposure on your health can take years to manifest and can even cause cancer or affect your fertility.
Chemical agents - Työnantajalle
All chemicals should ideally be purchased from a single supplier. This helps to prevent the purchase of equivalent products for the same purpose and makes it easier to catalogue chemicals efficiently.
It is the employer’s duty to provide the workplace with up-to-date material safety data sheets and, where necessary, descriptions of safe use (exposure scenarios) for identifying risks associated with chemicals. The employer also needs to make sure that the safety data sheets and descriptions of safe use cover the use of the chemicals present in the workplace.
The employer needs to identify whether hazardous chemicals are used and whether hazardous exposure agents are generated in the workplace. The employer should aim to replace the hazardous chemicals with less dangerous substances and prevent the generation of exposure agents.
It is the employer’s duty to update the risk assessments based on the information acquired.
It is also the employer’s duty to ensure that all containers of dangerous substances (such as reservoirs, storage tanks, pipes and cylinders) are labelled with the product’s name and hazardous properties.
The employer must ensure that all employees have been trained to handle chemicals in a safe manner.
Chemical agents - Lainsäädäntö
Decree of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (1273/2019)