Work permits for risky chemical work

Permits from employers for jobs that can be harmful to health through exposure and a widened awareness of chemical products. These are two new rules in the Swedish Work Environment Authority’s regulations on chemicals handling, which took effect from 1 July this year.
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Permits from employers for jobs that can be harmful to health through exposure and a widened awareness of chemical products. These are two new rules in the Swedish Work Environment Authority’s regulations on chemicals handling, which took effect from 1 July this year.

Work in enclosed spaces now requires a specific permit from the employer. The permit must be in writing and include handling and safety instructions as well as a certificate stating that the person who will perform the work has read the instructions and intends to follow them. Permits must also be issued for hot work (welding, grinding, cutting, drilling, soldering) and prior to any work that could cause a fire or explosion.
“This is a kind of stop and think, so that we do not perform hazardous work without first making a risk assessment. One reason for the change is the serious accidents which have happened in enclosed spaces in the holds of ships,” says Chris Malmberg at the Swedish Work Environment Authority.
There are also changes in terminology in the new regulations and sources of risk are now discussed instead of chemical substances. The idea is to widen the concept to include work where awareness of handling dangerous substances is not always good.
“Chemical substances may be released from a decaying load without us knowing about it,” says Christer Malmberg at the Swedish Work Environment Authority.
The change in concept is also intended to include substances that are not in themselves dangerous, but which can still cause injuries.
“Take steam, for example. Water is not poisonous, but when it is heated up there is a risk of scalding injuries,” says Christer Malmberg.
Read more at www.av.se/dokument/afs/afs2011_19.pdf
Linda Sundgren

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