Chemicals product health and safety data and MSDSs on most substances and products worldwide, is posted for free at www.icca-chem.org/global-product-strategy
The International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) launched the data portal in 2010, and promoted distribution and use of chemicals product information and MSDSs at an ICCA chemicals policy, safety and health sector meeting in Johannesburg in 2011.
Morocco and South Africa are the only two ICCA partners in Africa, despite “pockets of excellence in downstream chemicals handling, manufacture, legislation, enforcement and voluntary compliance in several African areas and plants”, ICCA executive Dr Martin Kayser told SHEQafrica.com during the meeting.
“We could not implement global standards like the European REACH programme in Africa yet, but we do offer guidance and free access to chemicals expertise”, Dr Kayser said.
“Mining and multinational companies are among the drivers of health, safety and environmental performance standardization in Africa.”
ICCA recognises that “chemicals transport, trade regulation and practice in Africa and SADC countries would still have to be harmonised internally, as well as with Europe and the world”, Dr Kayser said. “Several legislation and enforcement challenges remain in African chemicals practice.”
Europe and Eastern Europe also faced challenges of unequal enforcement, despite European Union success in reducing documentation and improving general trust in regulatory systems, Dr Kayser explained.
Dr Kayser, a medical doctor and toxicologist, was asked to comment on the ideal professional sector for occupational health skills development and professionalisation, and said that separation of OH practice from medical science was an option.
“OH is a multi-disciplinary practice that has more in common with quality management and risk management, than with medicine or occupational medicine.”
Chem data, waste, efficiency
ICCA executive Gregory Bond co-ordinates ICCA partnership in a United Nations (UN) product safety programme, named Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM).
“We are now focusing on product data, product life cycle management, and chemicals waste management”, Bond told SHEQafrica.com. “Meanwhile we support voluntary participation in Responsible Care (RC) programmes, and ultimately we will support energy efficiency and climate change programmes.”
ICCA called on African countries to harmonise their legislation and standards with global practice, starting from a local focus. “Industrial partners or client groups could from associations to exchange product and hazard data, and to standardise their practice,” said Bond.
Standards not transferrable
However, Bond warns that mere over-writing of international conventions or standards may duplicate or contradict some legislation, and could also fail due to large differences in institutions, resources, conditions and skills, between countries of origins and countries of application of loftly standards.
Chem data training
The new global chemicals product portal is provided under ICCA’s global product strategy that addresses product stewardship components of Responsible Care. Already 1400 chemicals product safety summaries are available.
ICCA plans to offer training in use of the new global product strategy website, to chemicals product suppliers, manufacturers and users. Accredited Responsible Care trainers would probably be used to supply this training.
• For chemicals safety data, visit www.icca-chem.org/global-product-strategy
PHOTO; ICCA executives Gregory Bond and Dr Martin Kayser during the ICCA chemicals policy, safety and health sector meeting in Johannesburg.