Zapptizer Case Study: A company wants staff to use a new chemical cleaner Zapptizer in their cabs against Covid-19. Previously a private cleaning company carried out the work. The reps asked for advice from the GMB full time officer, this is his reponse:
The product comes in gas canisters that need to be stored at certain temperatures and pressure there is a risk of explosion
The data sheets state that this is for professional users only
There is a requirement for a suitable level of 'ventilation' with engineering provision recommended - this would not be possible to use when cleaning cabs.
The mixture includes benzene ammonium chloride, which can be dangerous to respiratory systems, skin and eyes.
If inhaled in an enclosed space can cause blackout and choking on vomit.
Benzene itself is an extremely dangerous chemical and inhalation, ingestion or absorption can lead to neurological symptoms and can affect bone marrow leading to aplastic anemia. It can affect the immune system and is a well-known carcinogen which can cause leukemia and other cancers.
Anyone coming in to contact with the substances need immediate medical assistance. Is there immediate medical treatment available on the premises?
Is there appropriate PPE on site for firefighters in case of ignition?
Is there appropriate PPE for workers and firstaiders?
Are there sufficient and appropriate fire extinguishers available?
The nature of the substance makes it volatile and hazardous for users or people in the vicinity - possible explosive.
Are there specific Risk Assessments on its use completed by a competent person?
Disposal processes need to be strict to avoid contamination and ensuing legal action agains the employer
Are the levels of hygiene (washing/showers) and protective gear at a high enough qualitative level?
Although it says there is no Occupational Exposure Limits in the materials/substances, there are many dangerous substances which have no OELs. Has there been an discussion about hazard or control banding strategies as part of a RA to ensure safe handling?
PPE is only used as a last resort for safety but given the need to use this in well ventilated ares, it will be required, without guarantees of keeping workers safe.
In section 8 it suggests the need for local exhaust engineering or other engineering controls - are they available?
Are appropriate and additonal footwear and clothing provided?
Concerns because there is too much data not available in the data sheet
Too many risks attached to using this chemical spray, potentially damaging eyes, respiratory, digestive system and affect organs and central nervous system. It is particularly dangerous for people who are subjected to repeat exposure.
No chemical safety RA has been carried out which relates to lack of knowledge of long term impact from contact through inhalation or other repeat exposure to skin or eyes.
3.2 classification shows it is Acutely Toxic if swallowed and will cause damage if inhaled.
Recommendation by GMB officer - if substance is used it should be handled only by registered professional cleaners with all control measures in place.
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