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8. Work systems and practices

8.1 General principles

8.1.1. Work procedures should be devised and followed for all uses of hazardous chemicals at work to protect workers against the risks which have been identified as a result of the employer's assessment of risks.

8.1.2. A work procedure should be devised after other appropriate means to eliminate and minimise risks have been chosen (i.e. the appropriate chemicals, technology and engineering control measures for a particular use at work).

8.1.3. The work procedure should incorporate the most effective use of the control measures provided.

8.1.4. The work procedure should make it clear who is in charge of the work, specify the particular tasks included in that work (and which individuals have responsibilities where there is an overlap) and provide for the exchange of necessary information at shift changeover time.

8.1.5. The work procedures that are devised should be in accordance with the requirements of national law and practice.

8.1.6. Other than for straightforward tasks, work procedures should be described in writing.

8.1.7. In particular, written work procedures should be devised and followed where good work procedures and practices are of-primary importance, e.g. during routine maintenance, the testing, examination and repair of plant and equipment, the transfer of chemicals (including loading and unloading) and Identification of the content of containers, including the potential hazards and corresponding precautions.

8.1.8. In some cases, the possible risks presented by hazardous chemicals are very high, e.g. during the maintenance of plant and equipment where entry is necessary. In such cases a formal written procedure, referred to as a "permit-to-work" system, is required. A "permit-to-work" form states exactly what work is to be done and when, and which parts are safe. A responsible person should assess the work and check safety at each stage and on completion. The people doing the jobs should sign the permit to show that they understand the hazards and necessary precautions.

8.1.9. For persons working alone, particular attention should be given to work procedures and to the arrangements in the event of an emergency, and special provisions made where appropriate.

8.1.10. Work procedures for emergency shut-down of the chemical processes should be established.

8.2 Review of work systems and practices

8.2.1. Frequent checks on the work procedures should be included in the review of control measures for hazardous chemicals and appropriate action should be taken. These checks should be made at the same time as those on information and training referred to in section 10.2 (information and training review).

8.2.2. The review should include checks on:

(a) changes in staff, materials, equipment, location and operating procedures;

(b) procedures followed outside "normal" working hours;

(c) adequacy of supervision;

(d) whether systems and practices are followed as intended;

(e) arrangements for leaving a job that cannot be finished.

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