Labels and material safety data sheets
Read the labels on all chemical products. The label will help you identify the product, its ingredients and the hazards of the product. The label also contains important health and safety information. WorkCover NSW has a number of useful publications on managing chemical hazards in the workplace.
Have on hand all relevant material safety data sheets (MSDS) and make sure these are up to date. MSDS must be available for every hazardous substance used in the workplace. Information on the safe use, storage, spill procedure and disposal of the product is part of the MSDS. You should get MSDS from your supplier with every substance you buy, handle or use. Make sure your supplier provides them, and follow them carefully.
Some materials used in foundries are classified as dangerous goods. Materials classified as dangerous goods are marked with a class label which indicates the nature of the hazard; for example, an explosive, a gas, a flammable liquid or solid, an oxidising agent, a poison, or a radioactive or corrosive substance. There are many regulations relating to the storage of dangerous goods. For more information on storing them contact WorkCover NSW. For information on transporting dangerous goods and dangerous goods licensing contact the DECC Environment Line.
Foundry adopts environment and safety policy
A medium-sized family owned company with 85 employees has been operating for 60 years. It supplies castings to local and overseas markets.
The following environmental improvements have been made:
- An environmental awareness and safety policy has been adopted. Management has appointed staff to be responsible for environmental awareness in each division of the foundry.
- A spill management plan has been put in place and employees made aware of what they need to do in the event of a spill.
- 200 litre containers are stored in bunded areas.
- Resins are stored away from catalysts.
- Material safety data sheets (MSDS) are displayed.
- Steel scrap is stored in containers and under cover or securely covered with plastic sheeting.
Chemical storage and disposal
- Ensure that all hazardous substances and dangerous goods are stored in a
designated area according to their storage requirements, away from stormwater drains. Cover, seal and bund the storage area.
- Bund storage areas to contain spills, and cover them to prevent drums rusting. There must be no access for any spills or leaks to any drains.
- Erect hazard warning signs in prominent positions on the premises with the
applicable Hazchem code.
- Inspect storage containers regularly. Replace them if they are damaged and
rusty and likely to leak.
- Send all waste hazardous substances or dangerous goods to a licensed
contractor for recycling or disposal.
General actions for dealing with spills
Prepare and practice your spill clean-up procedure. Staff should know what to do, where to find emergency equipment and how to use it. Available equipment should include mops, brooms, rags, material to prevent spills going into drains, and material to absorb spills. Keep this material in a clearly labelled and accessible location. It is important to:
- Stop the source of the spill immediately if it is safe to do so.
- Contain the spill and control its flow (Refer to the relevant MSDS). Stop the spill from entering any stormwater drains by blocking the drain inlets.
- Clean up the spill promptly. It is important to clean up all spills quickly, even small ones, as they can easily flow into stormwater drains or be washed there by rain.
- Store all waste generated from spill clean up in a sealed vessel and in a bunded and covered area.
- Contact a waste contractor who is licensed to dispose of the absorbents used in the spill clean up.
Emergency response to spills
- Make all staff aware of emergency telephone numbers to call in the case of a spill.
- If a spill occurs that threatens or harms the environment, you must tell the EPA or the local council as soon as you can after you became aware of it.
- For large-scale, hazardous spills call the Fire Brigade immediately on 000.
- If you cannot contain any spill of hazardous materials (regardless of its size) contact the Fire Brigade immediately.
- For small-scale spills, follow the MSDS for the spilled substance.
- Your local council
- WorkCover NSW, Tel: 131 050
- DECC Environment Line, Tel: 131 555
Page last updated: 27 February 2011