HSA Launches a free chemical safety in the workplace online course

Thursday 20th April

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has launched a short, interactive on-line course on Chemical Safety in the Workplace. The 30-minute course is free and can be accessed through the Authority’s e-learning portal, http://hsalearning.ie. The course is aimed at employers and employees, including supervisors and health and safety representatives, in any sector where chemicals are used.

The course follows on from the introductory Chemical Safety in the Workplace course launched in 2016. It provides more detailed information on chemical safety including information on the different types of chemical hazards found in the workplace and the information available to protect workers and others when using these chemicals. Course objectives include learning about hazard pictograms, when and how to use the information contained on labels and safety data sheets (SDSs), and how to manage chemicals safely in the workplace.

Hazardous chemicals can be found in nearly all workplaces and their safe use is essential for health and well-being. Across Europe, millions of workers come across chemicals that may harm them. According to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), 15% of workers in Europe handle hazardous chemicals as part of their job. Health effects can range from irritation of the skin or eyes to cancers and effects on the unborn child.

While it is difficult to indicate the exact cost to health, statistics on the website of The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), for example, indicate that more than 100,000 deaths in the EU each year are caused by occupational cancers. It is therefore vital that companies protect their workers, and in order to do so, they must know how hazardous the chemicals in the workplace are and how they can be used safely.

At the end of this course learners should be able to:

  • Recognise hazard pictograms
  • Understand hazard label information
  • Use Safety Data Sheets to find information on hazards and protective measures
  • Understand the legal obligations of suppliers and employers

Senior Chemicals Inspector with the HSA, Majella Cosgrave said: “Chemical Safety in the Workplace – Level 2 will provide learners with detailed information on chemical hazards. It will also help learners to interpret and use the information on hazard labels and Safety Data Sheets Employer and employees will learn about their key duties and also how chemical safety should be managed in the workplace. Employers can usefully incorporate the course into staff induction or training programmes.”

HSA Education Manager, Joanne Harmon said, “This short on-line course will be of interest to employers as a way of raising awareness amongst their employees of the risks from hazardous chemicals in the workplace. The group manager facility means that employers, managers or tutors can register groups of learners to take the course in their own time and remotely monitor their progress.”

Ms Harmon added, “Learners can take courses at their own pace and can download a certificate of completion on passing the short assessment. Although not a formal qualification, certification can form part of an individual’s training or continuous professional development record.”

To see the full range of HSA on-line courses on offer, browse and/or register as a learner on www.hsalearning.ie. If you are interested in further information on HSA on-line learning or to register these or other courses for continuing professional development points, contact: joanne_harmon@hsa.ie.