Most parts and components today are made from metals. Hence, the demand for metals continues to be strong nowadays among industries.
One way to source metals is through raw metal extractions. The processes involved in these activities, however, can be hazardous to the environment as they can destroy land areas and pollute the surroundings. They also consume too much energy. Fortunately, metals can already be attained through metal recycling processes.
Metal recycling is generally more cost-effective and eco-friendlier than raw metal extraction. But it must still be conducted safely to avoid causing injuries, harming the environment, and spending too many resources. To achieve safe metal recycling, here are some Australian occupational health and safety (OH&S) standards the metal recycling industry should follow.
Hazardous Materials Management
Metal recycling involves the handling of hazardous materials like chemicals, acids, and heavy metals. The Australian OH&S standards, therefore, require metal recycling plants to implement hazardous materials management practices to reduce the risk of exposure to workers and the environment. Some of these practices include identifying and labelling hazardous materials, implementing safe handling, storage, and disposal procedures, and providing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
Speaking of PPE, the Australian OH&S standards require metal recycling plants to provide appropriate PPE to workers so they will be protected from workplace injuries and fatalities. Appropriate PPE includes safety glasses, hard hats, gloves, and other protective equipment. Metal recycling plants must also make sure that their workers are trained in the proper use, maintenance, and storage or disposal of PPE.
Safe Work Practices
The Australian OH&S standards also require metal recycling plants to carry out safe work practices to decrease the risk of workplace injuries and fatalities. These practices include developing and implementing safe work procedures, giving adequate training to workers, and providing regular safety audits and inspections. They must also ensure that their machinery and tools are maintained and serviced regularly to prevent accidents and breakdowns.
Emergency Response Planning
Metal recycling plants should also develop and implement emergency response plans so that workers can respond to accidents, spills, and other emergencies immediately. These plans include the identification of potential emergency scenarios, providing appropriate emergency response equipment and training, and performing regular emergency drills and exercises.
The Australian OH&S standards require metal recycling plants to carry out regular risk assessments to identify and minimise workplace hazards. These assessments would often involve handling hazardous materials, working at heights, operating heavy machinery, and working in confined spaces. They should also develop and implement risk management strategies to minimise and mitigate the identified risks.
Lastly, the Australian OH&S standards require metal recyclers to implement environmental protection measures to cut the impact of their operations on the environment. These measures would often revolve around waste management procedures that can minimise the generation of hazardous waste and the proper disposal of any hazardous waste generated. Measures preventing soil and water contamination like the installation of spill containment systems and regular environmental monitoring should also be done by the metal recycling plants.
The Australian OH&S standards are designed to ensure the safety of workers, minimise workplace injuries and fatalities, and protect the environment. Hence, we, at Victorian Metal Traders, carry out these standards to achieve total safety for the workers and the environment.
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