What are hazardous substances and how do they differ? Handling hazardous substances should in principle be avoided, but handling such substances is essential, especially in industry. Future-oriented and safe handling of hazardous substances is of great importance for the protection and safety of the environment. This includes a corresponding declaration and special rules for storage and transport.
What are hazardous substances?
According to the Hazardous Substances Regulation (GefStoffV), hazardous substances can have the following properties:
- These are hazardous substances and mixtures
- These are explosive substances, mixtures or products
- Substances, mixtures and articles resulting from the manufacture of 1) or 2).
- Substances and mixtures that can endanger the health and safety of workers due to their physicochemical, chemical or toxic properties.
- Substances with an occupational exposure limit
Possible effects of hazardous substances on humans, animals and the environment
In the Hazardous Substances Regulation between:
- physical hazards,
- health risks
- environmental hazards
- and other dangers.
Physical hazards are primarily substances, mixtures or substances that present a fire or explosion hazard. Substances with health risks are usually poisonous or corrosive. Substances or mixtures of substances with environmental hazards may pose an acute or long-term hazard, in particular to bodies of water.
Environmentally harmful substances are, for example, heavy metals such as lead or aromatic and volatile hydrocarbons.
Handling hazardous substances
In principle, it would make sense to avoid the use of hazardous substances because of the potential hazards. However, many companies and industries depend on the daily handling of hazardous substances. That is why there must be clear rules for handling hazardous substances that meet the highest safety standards.
The declaration and labeling of hazardous substances
Hazardous substances must be clearly marked for safe handling. That is why hazardous substances are divided into hazard classes and categories. The classification is based on the internationally recognized GHS system. Containers, bundles or even rooms have signs to indicate the danger.
Special labeling requirements apply to the transport of dangerous goods. The hazard classes indicate whether the substance or mixture is involved
- a physical danger
- a danger to human health or even
- poses a risk to the environment.
The so-called H-phrases describe the type of hazard and the P-phrases provide appropriate safety information.
The storage of hazardous substances
Special storage conditions apply for flammable or water-hazardous substances. To protect the groundwater, the relevant substances must be secured by means of collecting pans to be covered in the event of problems (such as leakage). Drip trays are used wherever fuel, paint, acids or alkalis are used. It should be noted that it should be possible to collect the entire stored amount in water protection areas.
When storing, it must also be taken into account that the materials are guaranteed to be compatible and resistant to corrosion. Well-known companies such as KAISER+KRAFT have drip trays and other suitable products for handling hazardous substances, such as chemical cabinets.
hazardous substances in the workplace
In general, handling hazardous substances should be avoided or kept to a minimum. If necessary, protective suits should be worn at work to keep the health risk to workers low. If employees work with such substances, they must be instructed and instructed beforehand after demonstrable expertise.
Hazardous substances – conclusion
Hazardous materials can pose a health hazard, an environmental hazard, a physical hazard, or even some “other hazard” such as ozone hole damage. A clear classification and declaration is essential for proper storage and proper handling of these substances.
If in doubt about handling, you can also consult the Hazardous Substances Regulation.