SafeWork SA is reminding businesses who handle chemicals in the workplace to ensure that their equipment is compatible with the substances being handled.

In January 2021, a worker was decanting an acidic liquid when it was noticed that the plastic tap on the drum was leaking.

When attempting to tighten the tap, the assembly failed causing acid to spill onto the worker resulting in chemical burns to the worker’s arms and legs.

One contributing factor was that the seal of the tap was incompatible with the chemical being decanted.

Similar incidents have occurred during 2020 where workers have been injured decanting corrosive and flammable liquids.

Businesses must ensure that:

  • equipment used for handling chemicals is suitable for the chemical being handled. Consider the type of material the equipment is constructed from, and its compatibility with the chemical being handled.
  • a safe system of work is established for handling chemicals, which includes emergency procedures in case of spills
  • workers are adequately trained and inducted, both for the task being carried out as well as for chemical hazards in general.

The Code of Practice – Managing risks of hazardous chemicals in the workplace is available to assist businesses with practical guidance on these issues.