Steps to Completing a Chemical Assessment 

Chemical assessments are important for evaluating and managing the risks associated with the use of chemicals.

Chemical assessments in the workplace can be used to: 

  • Identify the hazards associated with a chemical 
  • Assess the risks of exposure to a chemical 
  • Develop and implement appropriate risk management measures 
  • Monitor and review the effectiveness of risk management measures 


Step One: Identify the chemicals to be assessed 

The first step in completing a chemical assessment is to identify the chemicals that need to be assessed. This may involve: 

  • Reviewing workplace inventories 
  • Identifying chemicals used in products or processes 
  • Considering chemicals that may be released into the environment 


Step Two: Gather information on the chemicals 

Once the chemicals to be assessed have been identified, ensure to gather information on their properties and hazards. This information can be found in a variety of sources, including: 

  • Safety data sheets (SDSs) 
  • Chemical databases 
  • Scientific literature 


The information gathered should include: 

  • The chemical’s identity and physical properties 
  • The chemical’s hazards (e.g., toxicity, flammability, corrosivity) 
  • Routes of exposure (e.g., inhalation, dermal, ingestion) 
  • Effects of exposure (e.g., acute and chronic health effects, environmental effects) 


Step Three: Assess the risks of exposure 

Once information on the chemicals’ properties and hazards has been gathered, ensure you assess the risks of exposure. This involves considering: 

  • The amount and frequency of exposure 
  • The routes of exposure 
  • The characteristics of the exposed population (e.g., age, health status) 
  • The effectiveness of any existing risk management measures 


Step Four: Develop and implement risk management measures 

If the risk assessment identifies significant risks of exposure to a chemical, then appropriate risk management measures should be developed and implemented. These measures may include: 

  • Engineering controls (e.g., ventilation, isolation) 
  • Administrative controls (e.g., safe work practices, training) 
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) 


Step Five: Monitor and review the effectiveness of risk management measures 

Once risk management measures have been implemented, it is important to monitor and review their effectiveness on a regular basis. This should involve: 

  • Monitoring exposure levels 
  • Conducting regular inspections of workplaces and equipment 
  • Reviewing incident reports 


Tips for completing a chemical assessment 

  • Use a systematic approach. This will ensure that all relevant factors are considered, and that the assessment is comprehensive. 
  • Document the assessment process and findings. This will help to communicate the results of the assessment to others and to track the effectiveness of risk management measures over time. 
  • Consult with experts if necessary. If you are unsure about any aspect of the assessment process, seek advice from a qualified professional. 


Example of a chemical assessment 

Chemical: Toluene 

Hazards: Toluene is a flammable liquid that can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat. Exposure to high levels of toluene can cause dizziness, headache, nausea, and vomiting. Long-term exposure to toluene can damage the central nervous system and liver. 

Routes of exposure: Toluene can be inhaled, absorbed through the skin, or ingested. 

Exposed population: Workers in the workplace who are exposed to toluene include: 

  • Painters 
  • Varnishers 
  • Printers 
  • Automotive mechanics 
  • Workers in the rubber and plastics industry 


Existing risk management measures: The workplace has the following risk management measures in place to protect workers from exposure to toluene: 

  • Engineering controls: There is a local exhaust ventilation system in place to remove toluene fumes from the air. 
  • Administrative controls: Workers are trained on how to safely use toluene and on the importance of using PPE. 
  • PPE: Workers are required to wear respirators, gloves, and safety glasses when working with toluene. 


Risk assessment: The risk assessment has determined that the risk of exposure to toluene in the workplace is low, provided that all risk management measures are in place and followed. 

Recommendations: The risk assessment recommended the following: 

  • Continue to monitor exposure levels to toluene. 
  • Conduct regular inspections of the ventilation system and PPE to ensure that they are in good working order. 
  • Provide refresher training to employees on the safe use of toluene. 


The iProtectU health and safety software provides: 

  • An inspection and Audit App which allows for safety inspection of the workplace and associated report 
  • eLearning on a range of EHS topics including chemical safety 
  • Scheduling functionality for managers to send eLearning, risk assessments and documents out to all staff via the software with tracks completion and compliance 
  • Chemical assessment templates 
  • Management system to document control the policy on chemical substances 
  • Method Statement module for the creation of work activity working instructions 
  • Legal register that provides legislation guidance on chemical safety 
  • Incident investigation module that tracks incidents involving substances both with an app and via desktop 
  • Hazard observation app where staff can report and record any concerns regarding chemical substances to the organisation 
  • Asset management App ensuring assets are recorded in the software 




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