[Answer] What are the Safe Ways To Handle Chemicals Onboard?

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On the aftermath of an eye injury involving chemicals onboard, the Maritime NZ issued a reminder to operators of their duties to identify ‘reasonably foreseeable risks’.  It is also to control these risks ‘as far as practicable’, in line with the Health and Safety at Work Act.  Today we deal this sensitive and important topic in our challenge corner.

Chemical-related inspection findings

This reminder follows recent chemical-related inspection findings, as well as an accident in which a man suffered a chemical burn to his eye while cleaning a meal press on a deep sea factory trawler.

Procedures not followed

The man was not following established procedures or wearing the proper personal protective equipment when a caustic cleaning chemical seeped through the goggle seal and into his eye.

What were the consequences of not following procedures?

This resulted in temporary loss of vision and required treatment ashore.

Some operators have recently provided their ships with a neutralizing agent (Diphoterine) for first-aid of chemical injuries.

This product neutralizes many harmful chemicals even inside the body’s affected cells, quickly alleviating pain and preventing further harm.

Recommendations to overcome this issue

  • Make sure all crew members have easy access to Safety Data Sheets and that these are kept up to date.
  • Ensure all chemicals are stored safely – and, if possible, restrict access to authorised people.
  • Fully assess tasks before procuring personal protection equipment (PPE) and introduce processes to prevent improper PPE being used.
  • Make sure all crew members are aware of the risks associated with chemicals as well as your vessel’s first aid steps.
  • Provide specific training courses for crew members using or handling hazardous substances.
  • Consider carrying a proprietary first aid neutralizing solution, such as Diphoterine (approx $70/bottle). Or make sure you have other suitable first aid measures in place.

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Source: Ship&Bunker

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