The new workplace exposure limits have now been revised for 2018, and all employers need to be aware of the changes to ensure that they operate within the new guidelines and keep their employees safe while at work.
Applicable to all states within the EU, the updated regulations have seen new entries for businesses working with substances including 2-ethylhexan-1-ol, acetic acid, acrylic acid, amitrole and nitrogen dioxide. New 8-hour time-weighted averages (TWAs) have been introduced for But-2yne-1,4-diol and Calcium dihydroxide (respirable fraction).
This is just a small snapshot on the changes to the 2011 regulations and aims to protect workers at risk of potentially dangerous dust, fibres, chemicals and fumes that if not dealt with properly, can be detrimental to employee health.
Employees can be exposed to these potentially hazardous substances by breathing, absorption through the skin being swallowed or acting directly on the body. Therefore, it’s now more important than ever that employers provide the best quality workwear and protective clothing against hazards such as chemical splash and arc flash.
Failure to follow the updated regulations not only puts employees at risk, it can also result in legal action, fines and even prison time for those responsible for non-compliance.
In order to be compliant with the changes to workplace exposure limits, here are three steps all businesses affected by the changes need to make.
Employers need to gain a thorough understanding of the changes to the 2018 workplace exposure limits to discover how they will affect their current working methods and processes before taking any action.
Once you have identified which elements apply to your business, you’ll be in a position to make changes to ensure compliance with the revised regulations.
Next, you’ll need to carry out calculations to see how far away you are from the revised workplace exposure limits. If exposure is well within the new regulation periods, then you do not need to take any further action.
However, if your exposure times are over those detailed in the new regulations, then it is essential that you take steps to change your processes to reduce them to within the new limits.
Check your current PPE to ensure that there are no rips or tears, cracks or areas that expose the skin to harmful chemicals. All respiratory PPE should be tested for compliance and safety and replaced immediately should they not function properly.