Chemicals in a workplace must be used according to instructions

The Labour Inspectorate carried out an inspection of enterprises that use biocidal products. In the process of target inspection, 19 establishments were visited. 46 verbal recommendations were made to employers, a total of 63 violations were indicated in the inspection report and a precept was drawn up on seven violations. Tallinn and Harju County had the highest number of enterprises visited.

Biocide is a substance or mixture that is used with a purpose of destroying or repelling harmful organisms. For example, biocidal products are used in disinfectants, preservatives and pest control. Licenses for the use of biocidal products are registered and issued in Estonia according to the Biocidal Products Act.

The target inspection of the Labour Inspectorate found that in many cases the employer wasn't even aware that the chemical they were using qualifies as a biocidal product, in the process breaking the requirements of the Biocidal Products Act. For example, packages of biocidal products were left open, they were repackaged and some of the packages of biocidal products were also broken. The majority of violations were in regard to the knowledge and know-how of pest control operatives and relevant licenses.

The Labour Inspectorate reminds you that every chemical is a poison, the effect of which depends on its dose. Chemicals in a workplace must be used according to instructions specified on the packaging of a chemical. For dangerous chemicals, the manufacturer has drawn up a chemical safety data sheet, providing information on the effect of said chemical, its usage, safety measures required to avoid danger, etc. When creating a risk analysis of working environment, all existing risk factors must be assessed and employees instructed respectively. In the choice of personal protective equipment, information established on the safety data sheet must be followed above all. All employees whose health might be affected by the use of chemicals must also undergo a health inspection carried out by an occupational health doctor.

Results of a health inspection provide the employer useful information on if changes should be made to the working environment or if the working environment is already healthy for the employees.

The Labour Inspectorate offers all entrepreneurs an opportunity to invite a working environment consultant to visit their company, who will advise them on the creation of a successful working environment management system. This service is free for entrepreneurs. Our consultants can be invited to visit your company by writing on the e-mail address of the Labour Inspectorate: ti|ät|ti.ee.