Obligations and Duties
The Occupational Health and Safety Act sets out a number of specific duties for employers. These include:
– Providing and maintaining safe plant and systems of work (for example, regulating the pace and frequency of work).
– Arranging safe systems of work in connection with the plant and substances (for example, toxic chemicals).
– Providing a safe working environment (for example, by controlling noise levels).
– Providing adequate welfare facilities (for example, washrooms, lockers, dining areas).
– Providing adequate information on hazards, as well as instruction, training and supervision to employees, to enable them to work safely.
Pool managers should ensure that all staff, including those involved in water quality and plant operation, have an appropriate knowledge of the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Employees are required to:
– Take reasonable care of their own health and safety.
– Take reasonable care for the health and safety of anyone else who may be affected by their acts or omissions at the workplace.
– Cooperate with their employer with respect to any action taken by the employer to comply with any requirements imposed by or under the Act.
Dangerous Goods Act 1985
The Dangerous Goods Act, and in particular the Dangerous Goods (Storage and Handling) Regulations, apply to employers whose business involves substances hazardous to health.
Substances which are hazardous to health include microorganisms, by-products and any substances which create the sort of hazard that might come from a classified chemical. Pool operators should therefore include specific consideration of bacteria and viruses, other pollutants and disinfection by-products in planning storage and use of dangerous goods. This includes many disinfectants and other chemicals used in and around a pool.
Employers and employees should have easy access to copies of the relevant legislation on the premises, as well as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). A formal assessment of the dangerous goods held at the workplace should be conducted, and the health risks to employees and anybody using the premises assessed. This assessment must be regularly reviewed and updated if circumstances change—for example, a change in the type of disinfectant used, or method of its application.
Pool and contract managers should ensure that all staff, including those involved in water quality and plant operation, have an appropriate knowledge of the requirements of the Dangerous Goods Act and the Dangerous Goods (Storage and Handling) Regulations.
The Dangerous Goods (Storage and Handling) Regulations replaces the Dangerous Substances (Placarding of Workplaces) Regulations and the Hazchem legislation made under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. These types of acts and regulations are under constant review, and at the time of printing this Handbook may have changed, or had their names changed.
The purpose of the Hazchem part of the Regulations is to ensure that in the event of a fire or spillage involving dangerous goods, the emergency services will be better prepared and equipped to combat any such incident.
The Regulations require that notices be displayed at all workplaces if the quantity of various classes of dangerous goods that are kept exceed a prescribed aggregate amount. This includes schools, shops, factories, warehouses, laboratories, hospitals and swimming pools.
Managers should ensure that an assessment of their signage has been conducted, so that they are confident it meets current requirements. This will depend on the quantity and type of chemicals stored on the site.
If the prescribed aggregate quantity of ANY one class of dangerous goods at a workplace is exceeded, then the workplace must be provided with an outer warning notice (HAZCHEM) at every road and rail entrance to the workplace. (See listing below.)
The are a number of exceptions. These are:
1. In the case of a farm, or primary or secondary school, the notice is required only at the main road entrance.
2. If the only dangerous goods which exceed the prescribed aggregate quantity is Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LP Gas), in cylinders and kept outside a building and connected to consuming appliances within the building.
3. If the only dangerous goods which exceed the prescribed aggregate quantities are substances stored in or within the vicinity of a dwelling at the workplace and are for use in or on the dwelling.
Composite Warning Notices
If a workplace requires notices under the above definition, then a Composite Warning Notice is required for all storage of dangerous goods. The Notice must be one of the following:
1. In the case of a storage of packaged dangerous goods, a notice must be displayed:
a) At the entrance to any building or room in which dangerous goods are kept and
b) Adjacent to any storage of dangerous goods kept in the open.
2. In the case of bulk dangerous goods, that is, a storage tank or bulk container, a notice of the form shown in
1.The Hazchem Code provides advisory information to the emergency services personnel to enable them to take the appropriate action to combat the incident.
For example, the Hazchem Code for chlorine gas is 2XE.
2. The Dangerous Goods Class Labels are an international system of identifying the primary hazard of various substances. That is, whether the substance is a gas, a flammable liquid, a poison or corrosive substance, etc. The class labels are shown in the diamond on the right hand side of any composite labels.
Hazchem codes must be displayed at the entrance to any building or room in which dangerous goods are kept and adjacent to any storage of dangerous goods kept in the open.
Hazchem Code Meaning
2XE Chlorine gas
2 Indicates that the emergency services should use Fog to combat the spill.
X Indicates that emergency services should use full protective equipment, including breathing apparatus. They should contain the dangerous goods on-site, and seek to avoid spillage into drains and waterways.
E Indicates that the officer in charge of the emergency should consider evacuation of the site.