[Translate to en_IE:] [Translate to en_GB:] Desinfektionsmittel: Gesetzliche Mindeststandards bei neuen Gefahrstoffen, Prozessen und erhöhten Vorratsmengen

Disinfectants: Know your legal obligations

The current coronavirus pandemic has led to a sharp increase in the number of companies and private individuals using disinfectants. Businesses have been forced to quickly implement new hygiene procedures, which means that larger quantities of disinfectants are being held onsite. Some manufacturers are increasing their production volumes to keep up with the new demand, whilst other companies are looking to manufacture disinfectants for the first time.

It's important to remember that introducing new hazardous substances into a production environment creates new hazards, such as an increase in the quantities of potentially flammable stock onsite, or the initiation of new processes for the regular disinfection of premises, which will lead to an increase in exposure times for workers.

Using our disinfectants checklist, you can check whether you have met your legal obligations for the storage and handling of disinfectants in the workplace.


Minimum standards for the introduction of new hazardous substances or changes in the quantities used Done?

Renewing risk assessment

According to the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, risk assessments must be carried out before any new activities involving hazardous substances are undertaken. This can include a sudden increase in stock levels, or workers using larger volumes of hazardous chemicals. This also applies to changes in operating procedures, such as, for example, a change in storage requirements due to a need for increased storage capacity.

Be informed

You must be aware of the individual properties of all hazardous substances being stored onsite. Manufacturers must provide a safety data sheet (SDS), which includes all the necessary information, such as manufacturer specifications for professional handling and health protection information. If you have not yet received it, you should request one immediately from your supplier. Substances or mixtures that are produced in-house must be classified.

Control the exposure 

The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 also requires employers to prevent or control worker exposure to hazardous substances. Where exposure cannot be prevented, employers are required to assess the risk to health, and provide adequate control measures when using hazardous chemicals. This includes providing any necessary personal protective equipment (PPE).

Store chemicals safely

The potential for chemical reactions should be considered when more than one single disinfectant is being used. Incompatible chemicals should be stored separately. For example, chlorine-based disinfectants release toxic chlorine gas when in contact with acid or oxidising detergents. Also, hypoclorites form irritant nitrogen halide vapours when min contact with amines (eg QACs) and should be stored separately. Disinfectants containing peracetic acid form explosive mixtures with cleaners containing acids or alkalis. It's also important to remember that the chemicals used to create most disinfectants are highly flammable and require appropriate fire resistant storage

Health surveillance

Employers are required to carry out health surveillance if exposure of any employee to any disinfectant is such that:

1. an identifiable disease or adverse health effect may be related to the exposure

2. there is a reasonable likelihood that the disease or effect may occur under the particular conditions of work

3. there are valid techniques for detecting indications of the disease or the effect

Use of aldehydes as disinfectants will require health surveillance. Health surveillance is also likely to be required where there is a risk of contact dermatitis, which is associated with some disinfectants.

Correctly storing disinfectants will keep this risk to a minimum.

Perform regular maintenance

Disinfectant application equipment should be regularly maintained. Exposure control equipment should also be kept in good working order. PPE should be regularly examined and, where appropriate, tested at suitable intervals. PPE safety gloves should be inspected visually every time they are used. Disposable gloves should only be used once if chemicals are handled.

Training employees

Make sure your employees know the dangerous properties of the hazardous substances they are dealing with. They need to know how the substances are used professionally, and what measures should be taken in the event of an emergency

Labeling containers

Hazardous substances must be clearly identifiable at all times during operations. Disinfectants are often delivered in large containers, such as IBCs, and then moved into smaller containers. After refilling, the final containers must be clearly identifiable. FALCON Safety Cans are supplied with a multilingual safety label for content labelling with hazardous substance symbols, in accordance with GHS requirements. 

Emergency procedures

Emergency procedures should be in place, particularly when handling larger quantities of concentrated disinfectant. Emergency washing facilities, such as emergency showers and eye-wash stations, should be available to irrigate eyes in the event of an accident. Safety data sheets should be consulted in order to obtain the appropriate method for handling spillages; this may include, for example, spill pallets or absorbents. Environmental issues should be considered in the event of a spill, particularly to prevent chemicals running into drains.



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