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1. General provisions

1.1 Objective

1.1.1. The objective of this code is to protect workers from the hazards of chemicals, to prevent or reduce the incidence of chemically induced illnesses and injuries resulting from the use of chemicals at work and consequently to enhance the protection of the general public and the environment by providing guidelines for:

(a) ensuring that all chemicals for use at work, including impurities, by-products and intermediates, and wastes that may be formed, are evaluated to determine their hazards;

(b) ensuring that employers are provided with a mechanism for obtaining from their suppliers information about the chemicals used at work to enable them to implement effective programmes to protect workers from chemical hazards;

(c) providing workers with information about the chemicals at their workplaces and about appropriate preventive measures to enable them to participate effectively in safety programmes;

(d) establishing principles for such programmes to ensure that chemicals are used safely;

(e) making special provision to protect confidential information whose disclosure to a competitor would be liable to cause harm to an employer's business so long as the safety and health of workers are not compromised thereby.

1.1.2. This code provides practical guidance on the implementation of the provisions of the Chemicals Convention, 1990 (No. 170), and Recommendation, 199() (No. 177), and is not intended to discourage competent authorities from adopting higher standards.

1.2 Application

1.2.1. This code applies to any work activity in which chemicals are used, except those branches of economic activity, enterprises or products specifically excluded from the application of this code by the competent authority.

1.2.2. The code should also be applied to such self-employed persons and homeworkers as are specified in national laws or regulations, who may be affected by the use of chemicals during a work activity and whose use of chemicals may affect the health and safety of other workers.

1.2.3. The provisions of this code should be considered as basic requirements for preventing or reducing the risks to workers' health and safety when using hazardous chemicals. The most representative organisations of employers and workers concerned should be consulted by the competent authority on the measures to be taken to give full effect to the provisions of Convention No. 170 and Recommendation No. 177.

1.2.4. Excluded from this code is the use of articles which will not expose workers to a hazardous chemical under normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions of use.

1.2.5. Also excluded is the use of organisms, but the code does apply to chemicals derived from such organisms.

1.2.6. This code provides for assessment, controls, checks and records on safety in the use of chemicals, as well as emergency and reporting measures. Where hazardous chemicals are used, an employer should set up or have access to an occupational health service, consistent with the principles and objectives of the Occupational Health Services Convention, 1985 (No. 161), and Recommendation, 1985 (No. 171). Where available, the occupational health service should provide guidance to employers on the practical application of the provisions of this code, in the light of national law and practice, to help them comply with their general responsibilities under section 2.2 (General responsibilities of employers) and advise where surveillance of workers' health is required.

1.2.7. Where workers are exposed to ionising radiations as a result of the use of radioactive chemicals, the provisions of the ILO code of practice, Radiation protection of workers (ionising radiations) (Geneva, 1987), should apply.

1.3. Definitions

Article: An object which is formed to a specific shape or design during its manufacture or which is in its natural shape. and whose use in that form is dependent in whole or in part on its shape or design.

Chemicals: Chemical elements and compounds. and mixtures thereof, whether natural or synthetic.

Competent authority: A minister, government department or other public authority with the power to issue regulations. Orders or other instructions having the force of law.

Hazardous chemicals: These include any chemical which has been classified as hazardous in accordance with Article 6 of Convention No. 170, or for which relevant information exists to indicate that the chemical is hazardous.

Use of chemicals at work: Any work activity which may expose a worker to a chemical, including: (a) the production of chemicals; (b) the handling of chemicals; (c) the storage of chemicals; (d) the transport of chemicals; (e) the disposal and treatment of waste chemicals; (f) the release of chemicals resulting from work activities; (g) the maintenance. repair and cleaning of equipment and containers for chemicals.

Work activity: Includes all branches of economic activity h which workers are employed. including the public service. Workers' representatives: Persons who are recognised as such by national law or practice, in accordance with the Workers' Representatives Convention, 1971 (No. 135).

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Updated by AS. Approved by EC. Last update: 30.11.2004.