2.1.1. The competent authority should formulate and state a coherent policy on safety in the use of chemicals at work, taking into account national conditions and practice and in consultation with the most representative organisations of employers and workers concerned. This should form part of the national policy on occupational safety and health and the working environment required by the Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981 (No. 155). As part of this policy, the criteria for the use of chemicals at work should be as consistent as possible with the protection of the general public and the environment, and with any other criteria established for that purpose.
2.1.2. The competent authority should review existing national measures and practice, in consultation with the most representative organisations of employers and workers concerned, for ensuring safety in the use of chemicals at work. Such measures and practice should be compared with international regulations, standards and systems, and with the measures and practice recommended by this code.
2.1.3. In the light of the stated policy and the review, the competent authority should formulate and implement the necessary measures including laws, standards and criteria for safety in the use of chemicals at work, in consultation with the most representative organisations of employers and workers concerned, to give effect to Convention No. 170 and Recommendation No. 177, including the principles of good practice in this code, in accordance with international regulations standards and systems.
2.1.4. The competent authority should periodically review the stated policy and the existing measures to implement that policy, in consultation with the most representative organisations of employers and workers concerned, and implement any necessary changes in law, standards and criteria, taking into account current national conditions and in accordance with international regulations, standards and systems.
2.1.5. The competent authority should ensure that compliance with laws and regulations concerning safety in the use of chemicals at work is secured by an adequate and appropriate system of inspection. Adequate penalties should be provided for violations of these laws and regulations.
2.1.6. The competent authority should have the power, if justified on safety and health grounds, to either:
(a) prohibit or restrict the use of certain hazardous chemicals; or
(b) require advance notification and authorization before such chemicals are used.
When all or some uses of hazardous chemicals are prohibited for reasons of safety and health at work, this prohibition and the reasons for it should be communicated by the exporting State to any importing country. States should designate a competent authority to perform the exchange of information about decisions regarding the import or export of chemicals. Guidance can be found in the London Guidelines for the Exchange of Information on Chemicals in International Trade drawn up by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
2.1.7. The competent authority should have powers to specify categories of workers who, for reasons of safety and health, are not allowed to use specified chemicals or are allowed to use them but only under conditions prescribed in accordance with national laws or regulations.
2.1.8. The competent authority, or a body approved or recognised by the competent authority, should establish:
(a) systems and specific criteria appropriate for classifying chemicals according to their intrinsic physical and health risks by type and degree;
(b) systems and specific criteria for assessing the relevance of the information required to determine whether a chemical is hazardous;
(c) requirements for marking and labelling chemicals taking into account the need to harmonise such systems internationally. In the case of transport, account should be taken of the United Nations Recommendations on the transport of dangerous goods;
(d) criteria for the information contained in the chemical safety data sheets received by employers.
The competent authority should set out the necessary rules to determine these criteria and requirements but is not necessarily expected to undertake technical tasks or laboratory tests itself.
2.1.9. Classification systems and their application should be progressively extended, while taking into account harmonisation with internationally recognised systems. The competent authority should make arrangements for compiling and periodically updating a consolidated list of the chemical elements and compounds used at work, together with relevant hazard information. To the extent available, lists compiled by other national authorities under pre-manufacture or pre-market notification requirements may be used to compile and update this list.
2.1.10. The competent authority should require manufacturers and importers to provide it with information on specified criteria for assessing the hazards of chemical elements and compounds which are not yet included in the consolidated list compiled by the competent authority. Prior to use of the chemicals at work, the required information should be provided by the manufacturer and importer intending to place new chemicals on the market, whether the chemicals are individual substances or components of a mixture. The competent authority may specify a minimum threshold quantity for new chemicals for which such information should be provided. The powers of exemption may be used to exempt requirements for information on all components of a mixture where their quantities are insignificant in relation to the specific criteria set and do not affect the classification of the chemical, or where the same information has already been provided. Confidential information should be kept and disclosed in a manner consistent with the requirements of section 2.6.
2.1.11. The competent authority should ensure that criteria are established on measures which provide for safety of workers, in particular:
(a) in the production and handling of hazardous chemicals;
(b) in the storage of hazardous chemicals;
(c) in the transport of hazardous chemicals, consistent with national or international transport regulations;
(d) in the disposal and treatment of hazardous chemicals and hazardous waste products, consistent with national or international regulations.
2.1.12. The competent authority may prescribe:
(a) the hazardous chemicals in respect of which the exposure of workers should be monitored and recorded;
(b) periods for keeping records undertaken by employers of monitoring the working environment and of exposure of workers;
(c) periods for keeping records of the results of medical surveillance of workers.
2.2.1. Employers should set out in writing their policy and arrangements on safety in the use of chemicals, as part of their general policy and arrangements in the field of occupational safety and health, and the various responsibilities exercised under these arrangements, in accordance with the objectives and principles of the Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981 (No. 155), and Recommendation, 1981 (No. 164). This information should be brought to the attention of their workers in a language the latter readily understand.
2.2.2. Employers should ensure that all chemicals used at work are labelled or marked in accordance with the provisions of this code. and that chemical safety data sheets have been provided in respect of all hazardous chemicals used at work. They should also ensure that the chemical safety data sheets provided by the supplier, or similar relevant information where such data sheets have not been provided, are made available to workers and their representatives.
2.2.3. Employers receiving chemicals which have not been:
(a) labelled or marked; or
(b) provided with chemical safety data sheets;
in accordance with the provisions of this code should not use the chemicals until the relevant information has been obtained from the supplier or from other reasonably available sources, and has been made available to workers and their representatives. Wherever practical, non-hazardous or low-hazard chemicals should be used.
2.2.4. Employers should maintain a record of hazardous chemicals used at the workplace, cross-referenced to the appropriate chemical safety data sheets. The record should be accessible to all workers in the workplace who might be affected by the use of the chemicals, and to their representatives.
2.2.5. Employers should make an assessment of the risks arising from the use of chemicals at work, taking into account the information provided by the supplier or, where this is not available, obtained from reasonably available sources, and should protect the workers by appropriate preventive measures.
2.2.6. Employers should take appropriate measures to protect workers against the risks identified by the assessment of risks. Where the risks cannot be eliminated or adequately controlled, employers should provide and maintain personal protective equipment, including clothing, as appropriate, at no cost to the worker, and should implement measures to ensure its use.
2.2.7. Employers should comply with appropriate standards, codes and guidelines formulated, approved or recognised by the competent authority concerning safety in the use of chemicals.
2.2.8. Employers should ensure adequate and competent supervision of work and work practices, and the application and use of the control measures provided.
2.2.9. Employers should make adequate arrangements to deal with incidents and accidents involving chemicals, e.g. accidental exposure, inadvertent release, or fire or explosion. The arrangements should deal with the identified risks and include. where appropriate, the provision of fire-fighting equipment, fire alarms and release-containment measures. Where the identified risk warrants it, the emergency arrangements should include evacuation of the workplace and the locality.
2.2.10. Employers should provide their workers with necessary, appropriate and periodic instructions and training, taking account of the functions and capacities of different categories of workers and, where appropriate, workers' representatives .
2.2.11. Where an employer is also a national or multinational enterprise with more than one establishment, the employer should provide safety and health measures relating to the prevention and control of, and protection against, risks from hazardous chemicals, without discrimination, to all workers who may be affected regardless of the place or country in which they are situated.
2.2.12. In all countries in which they operate, multinational and multi-site enterprises should make available to:
(a) the workers concerned;
(b) workers' representatives;
(c) the competent authority;
(d) employers' and workers' organisations;
information on the standards and procedures related to the use of hazardous chemicals relevant to their local operations, which they observe in other countries.
2.3.1. Workers should take all reasonable steps to eliminate or minimise risk to themselves and to others from the use of chemicals at work.
2.3.2. Workers should take care of their own health and safety and that of other persons who may be affected by their acts or omissions at work, as far as possible and in accordance with their training and with instructions given by their employer
2.3.3. Workers should make proper use of all devices provided for their protection or the protection of others.
2.3.4. Workers should report forthwith to their supervisor any situation which they believe could present a risk, and which they cannot properly deal with themselves.
2.4.1. Suppliers of chemicals, whether manufacturers, importers or distributors, should ensure that:
(a) such chemicals have been classified or their properties assessed;
(b) such chemicals are marked;
(c) hazardous chemicals are labelled;
(d) chemical safety data sheets for hazardous chemicals are prepared and provided to employers;
in accordance with the guidelines in the relevant paragraphs of this code and in pursuance of the requirements of Convention N o. 170 and Recommendation No. 177.
2.4.2. Suppliers should ensure that all chemicals are marked to indicate their identity. The marking should be easily understood at both the place of origin and the destination.
2.4.3. Suppliers should identify and assess the properties of all chemicals, including the components of mixtures, which are not classified by the relevant competent authority or by a body approved or recognised by the relevant competent authority to determine whether the chemicals are hazardous. The assessment should be based on a search of available information.
2.4.4. Suppliers should ensure that all chemicals they supply are classified in accordance with systems and criteria approved or recognised by the relevant competent authority, or by a body approved or recognised by the relevant competent authority, or that their properties are assessed in accordance with paragraph 2.4.3 (assessment of chemical hazards). The relevant competent authorities include those authorities responsible for classification and labelling at the places of origin and destination of the hazardous chemicals.
2.4.5. Suppliers should ensure that all hazardous chemicals are labelled in the manner required by the relevant competent authorities, or a body approved or recognised by the relevant competent authorities.
2.4.6. Suppliers of hazardous chemicals should ensure that revised labels and chemical safety data sheets are prepared and provided to employers, by a method which accords with national law and practice, whenever new relevant safety and health information becomes available.
2.4.7. Where information on the names and concentrations of components is not included in the chemical safety data sheet because it is confidential, the supplier should disclose this information in accordance with section 2.6 (Confidential information).
2.5.1. The workers concerned and their representatives should have the right to:
(a) information on the identity of chemicals used at work, the hazardous properties of such chemicals and precautionary measures;
(b) the information contained in labels and markings;
(c) chemical safety data sheets;
(d) any other information required to be kept as specified by this code;
in forms and languages which they easily understand.
2.5.2. Workers should receive:
(a) information on the classification and labelling of chemicals, and on chemical safety data sheets, in forms and languages which they easily understand;
(b) information on the risks which may arise from the use of hazardous chemicals in the course of their work;
(c) instruction, written or oral, based on the chemical safety data sheet and specific to the workplace if appropriate;
(d) training and, where necessary, retraining in the methods which are available for the prevention and control of, and for protection against, such risks, including correct methods of storage, transport and waste disposal as well as emergency and first-aid measures.
2.5.3. Workers and their representatives should have the right to take adequate precautions, in cooperation with their employer, to protect workers against risks from the use of hazardous chemicals at work.
2.5.4. Workers and their representatives should have the right to request and participate in an investigation by the employer or the competent authority of possible risks resulting from the use of chemicals at work. In particular, this should include the assessment of risks arising from the use of chemicals at work (paragraph 2.2.5 (risk assessment)) and investigations into accidents and hazardous occurrences.
2.5.5. Where disclosure of the specific identity of an ingredient of a chemical mixture to a competitor would be liable to cause harm to the employer's business, the employer may, in providing the information required under paragraphs 2.5.2 (right to information) and 2.5.4 (right to participate in investigations), protect that identity in a manner approved by the competent authority as detailed in section 2.6 (Confidential information).
2.5.6. Workers should have the right:
(a) to bring to the attention of their representatives, the employer or the competent authority, potential hazards arising from the use of chemicals at work;
(b) to remove themselves from danger resulting from the use of chemicals when they have reasonable justification to believe that there is an imminent and serious risk to their safety or health; such workers should inform their supervisor immediately;
(c) in the case of a health condition, such as chemical sensitisation, placing them at increased risk of harm from a hazardous chemical, to alternative work not involving that chemical, if such work is available and if the workers concerned have the qualifications or can reasonably be trained for such alternative work;
(d) to compensation if the case referred to in (c) above results in loss of employment;
(e) to adequate medical treatment and compensation for injuries and diseases resulting from the use of chemicals at work;
(f) to refrain from using a chemical which is labelled as being hazardous, if the relevant information is not available in the form of a chemical safety data sheet or as information obtained by the employer.
2.5.7. Workers who remove themselves from danger in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 2.5.6 (b) (removal from danger) or who exercise any of their rights under this code should be protected against undue consequences.
2.5.8. Women workers should have the right, in the case of pregnancy or breastfeeding, to alternative work not involving the use of, or exposure to, chemicals hazardous to the health of the unborn or nursing child, where such work is available, and the right to return to their previous jobs at the appropriate time.
2.6.1. The competent authority should make special provisions 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. The special provisions should:
(a) limit the disclosure of confidential information to those who have a need related to workers' safety and health;
(b) ensure that those who obtain confidential information agree to use it only to address safety and health needs, and otherwise to protect its confidentiality;
(c) provide that relevant confidential information be disclosed immediately in an emergency;
(d) provide for procedures to consider promptly the validity of the confidentiality claim and of the need for the information withheld where there is a disagreement regarding disclosure.
2.6.2. Where disclosure of the specific identity of an ingredient of a chemical mixture to a competitor would be liable to cause harm to the employer's business, the employer may, in providing the information required under paragraph 2.5.1 to workers and their representatives, protect that identity in a manner approved by the competent authority in accordance with paragraph 2.6. 1.
2.6.3. Where the names or concentrations of the ingredients of chemical mixtures constitute confidential information, they may be omitted from the chemical safety data sheet in accordance with paragraph 2.6.1. Also in accordance with paragraph 2.6.1, the information should be disclosed on request and in writing to the competent authority and to concerned employers, workers and their representatives who agree to use the information only for the protection of workers' safety and health and not otherwise to disclose it.
2.6.4. Where the information requested is confidential in accordance with paragraphs 2.6.1 and 2.6.2, employers may require the workers or workers' representatives to limit its use to the evaluation and control of possible risks arising from the use of chemicals at work, and to take reasonable steps to ensure that this information is not disclosed to potential competitors.
2.6.5. Employers and occupational health services should ensure that access to personal records which contain confidential information on health surveillance, including the information on work-related diseases, is restricted to medical personnel Personal data relating to health assessments may be communicated to others only with the informed consent of the worker concerned.
2.7.1. Employers, in discharging their responsibilities. should cooperate as closely as possible with workers or their representatives with respect to safety in the use of chemicals at work.
2.7.2. Employers, workers and their representatives should cooperate as closely as possible in the application both of the measures provided by this code and of the provisions of Convention No. 170 and Recommendation No. 177 to ensure safety in the use of chemicals at work.
2.7.3. Workers should cooperate as closely as possible with their employers in the discharge by the latter of their responsibilities and should comply with all procedures and practices relating to safety in the use of chemicals at work.
2.7.4. Where workers have removed themselves from danger in accordance with paragraph 2.5.6 (b) (removal from danger), the employer, in cooperation with the workers and their representatives, should immediately investigate the risk and take any corrective action necessary.
2.7.5. Suppliers should, on request, provide employers with such information as is available and required for the evaluation of any unusual hazards which might result from a particular use of a chemical at work.
2.7.6. Publicity material concerning hazardous chemicals intended for use at work should call attention to their hazards and the necessity to take precautions.