Chemicals can harm you on short-term as well as long-term. That is why you need to know about a chemical's harmful effects and which precautions to take on your workplace to reduce the risks associated with the chemicals. The best way to do that is to collect informations about the chemical. On this page you can read more about what to note when you are working with chemicals.
Chemicals can be many things - paints, detergents, cleaning materials, degreasers, oil and additives. There must be written information about all these products aboard a vessel by way of safety data sheets, labels and workplace instructions.
Paint and detergents for paintwork must also have code numbers. The written information gives the harmful effects of the product and tells you how to protect yourself against them.
This means thinking about how they are absorbed by the body and how they damage health.
- If you work with chemicals, you may come into direct contact with them in various ways:
- Chemicals can come into direct contact with the skin and eyes, for example by splashes, direct contact or by your clothes being contaminated with chemicals.
- You can inhale dust, vapour, gases or aerosols in the air.
- You can get them in your mouth - and so your body - for example from dirty hands.
- Chemicals can be absorbed through the skin and into the body.
When organizing the workplace, choosing working methods and personal protection that take all these risks of contact with chemicals into account.
Different chemicals have different harmful effects. These can be immediate (short-term effects) or can appear much later or after a period of repeated use of chemicals (long-term effects).
Short-term effects can be:
- Irritation of the skin and eyes
Long-term effects can be:
- Brain damage / damage to the central nervous system
- Damage to the reproductive system
- Damage to other organs
Some can be both short and long-term, e.g.
Information on chemicals
Before you start using a chemical, you should find out as much as you can about it. The four most important sources of information are:
- Hazard labels (See Hazard label section)
- Safety data sheets (supplier instructions) - see below
- Workplace instructions - see below
- Code numbers - only for paint and paintwork cleaners (See Code numbers section)
Safety data sheets
Suppliers must provide safety data sheets for hazardous chemical products. These contain information on how to handle products, their dangerous properties and how to administer first-aid. Safety data sheets must be in Danish or your working language. You should contact your suppliers and request safety data sheets for all chemical products aboard - also those not mentioned as directly hazardous, because these can also give problems and harmful effects in the long term. Most suppliers have safety data sheets for all their products. If you cannot obtain a safety data sheet for a product that you use, consider changing to another product.
There should be workplace instructions for all dangerous chemicals on board. This is stipulated by law. However, it can also be a good idea to make workplace instructions for those products which are not considered directly hazardous but can also cause problems. Workplace instructions should contain the same information as the safety data sheet but should include information from the ship or the shipping company about how the product is used aboard the vessel. Workplace instructions should be in the working language used aboard.
Health and Safety at Sea software
Safety & Health at Sea makes it easier to register the products stored aboard and makes it easier to draw up user instructions. The program uses Seahealth’s database which contains details of the products listed on ship-owners’ positive lists. The program is intended to lead to healthier, safer use of chemicals aboard.
Senior Occupational Health Consultant
Anne L. Ries
+45 3311 1833
+45 2961 8860
I can help you with:
- Safety Organization
- Physical working environment
- The program Health and Safety at Sea
- Legislation at sea