In the Netherlands around 20 per cent of personnel work with hazardous substances (Arbobalans 2014). To ensure that employees work safely with such substances, there is legislation governing the identification and control of the risks. However, by no means has every company that works with hazardous substances identified the risks. Sometimes there is an absence of the general Risk Inventory and Evaluation (RI&E) and when such an RI&E is present, it sometimes lacks the hazardous substances component. Other companies have the safety sheets neatly arranged in a document file or have created a register of hazardous substances. Yet other companies have outlined the global risks and performed measurements for specific substances. Finally, a few companies that work with hazardous substances have detailed the risks and ensured that these risks remain under control.
If your company wants to make sure that you deal with hazardous substances safely, then the first step is to identify where you stand. Then you can take specific steps to go forward. A useful tool in determining where you stand in respect of law and legislation is the self-inspection of hazardous substances provided by the Dutch Labour Inspectorate. A key aspect of working with hazardous substances is the assessment of the risks, for example by performing measurements or using a quantitative model that enables the exposure to the substance to be estimated.
Stoffenmanager® is validated based on more than 6000 real measurements and is internationally accepted by EU and national authorities as a method to evaluate exposure to chemical substances at the workplace. However, using a tool does not necessarily imply that it is also correctly applied. Or that the user succeeds in properly unravelling the different steps of the risk assessment and drawing the right conclusion(s). To help companies undertake this process properly, the Stoffenmanager® Implementation Ladder has been developed. The position of your company on the ladder is established through an intake questionnaire. The ladder is divided into seven rungs. Per rung you obtain customised advice on the action that has to be taken so that you are able to climb the ladder by taking small steps. The ultimate goal is to be able to deal with hazardous substances within your organisation in a secure and sustainable way. The Stoffenmanager® online tool is at the heart of this Implementation Ladder.
If you want to find out where you stand as a company and what specific steps you can take, Cosanta is on hand to help you.