Designated substances as defined by the Ministry of Labour are any substances, either in use, or present in the work areas, that can or could pose a safety risk to employees. There are many examples of these substances, and most factories and work places have to have a designated substance survey completed and filed either when they first open their doors for business, or any time a new substance is introduced to the building. The following will show you some of the more common substances that can be found in various work place locations and why companies are required to have substance surveys completed and filed.
Asbestos in an Older Office Building
This is an example of a company purchasing an older office building and remodeling it for their use. Asbestos may be present if the building is over forty or fifty years old. If there is a remote possibility that asbestos is present, the company has to have a designated substance survey completed and filed for employee safety. The survey will examine all possible areas where asbestos is known to be in these old buildings, and make sure that these areas are effectively covered and concealed so that if they are infected with asbestos, none of the asbestos fibers can become airborne or dangerous.
Gaseous Chemicals in a Lab
Chemicals in gas form are quite common in medical and research labs. However, the Ministry of Labour likes to keep track of what these gas chemicals are, and where they are in use. These facilities have to conduct a substance survey to reveal what gas chemicals they have, what they are using them for, and what precautionary measures are being taken to protect the researchers and lab assistants.
Liquid Chemicals in Production
Many cleaning chemicals are made in a factory. Each of these chemicals can be very toxic, physically dangerous, and potentially lethal. The designated substance surveys reveal what chemicals are in production in each factory location, the chemical makeup of each chemical, the potential risks and dangers to employees, and the measures taken to protect employees who are directly handling the mixing and making of these chemicals. The primary goal with all of the above, of course, is to ensure that all employees are safe from harm and are well-protected against anything that could hurt, maim, or kill them. Employee safety is the utmost importance, and the Ministry of Labour fines and punishes companies that fail to protect their employees.