Every industry faces its own unique set of safety and health hazards, and pharmaceutical manufacturing is no different. In fact, the risks involved in pharmaceutical manufacturing are higher, as it involves working with and around chemicals, flammable materials, toxic fumes, and other hazardous agents. Therefore, it is crucial for businesses in the field to be aware of the common safety hazards so that they can mitigate and prevent an accident from occurring.
Learn More: 4 Effective Ways To Prevent Workplace Accidents
Risk #1: Flammable and combustible materials
Alcohols, gases, and solvents are essential components in pharmaceutical manufacturing. However, these materials pose a significant risk of fire and explosions. Therefore, it is vital to ensure these materials are stored and handled appropriately to prevent accidents.
Beyond adequate storage and correct handling of these combustible materials, effort must be made to educate all workers on the proper fire prevention measures and emergency response plans to minimise the impact of any accidents.
Businesses must also have the correct tools in place to safeguard workers’ safety. Explosion-proof equipment, like intrinsically safe junction boxes, is a must in the presence of an explosive atmosphere. These devices help prevent fires by limiting the energy available to electrical circuits, thereby reducing the risk of ignition in hazardous environments.
Risk #2: Hazardous chemicals
The pharmaceutical manufacturing process often involves the use of hazardous chemicals such as acids, bases, and oxidising agents. Exposure to these chemicals can cause serious health problems, such as skin irritation, respiratory problems, and even cancer.
To minimise exposure to these harmful chemicals, all employees working in the pharmaceutical manufacturing plant must wear personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times when working with these chemical agents. They should also be trained on the proper use of PPE and the correct chemical handling procedures.
Everything must also be labelled correctly, with Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) made available for all chemicals used in the manufacturing process. This way, workers are made aware of the potential risks associated with the materials they are handling. Since these chemicals are also highly combustible, appropriate explosion-proof equipment, such as flameproof lights, must be installed to ensure workers have adequate illumination and tools to perform their tasks without compromising their safety.
Risk #3: Biological hazards
To drive innovation and ensure the medical field can make rapid advances in preventing and treating infectious pathogens, pharmaceutical workers must routinely research and handle hazardous organisms like bacteria and viruses to develop vaccines and other medications.
Naturally, the risk of infection among workers is high, given the constant exposure to these harmful substances. As such, it is essential that the staff is correctly trained in handling biological materials and that they follow all safety protocols. Examples include routine sanitisation and the implementation of waste disposal procedures. PPE must be worn at all times in designated zones, which must be well-ventilated.
Risk #4: Carbon monoxide exposure
Carbon monoxide can be generated as a byproduct of specific chemical reactions. This colourless and odourless gas is toxic and can cause dizziness, nausea, and even death when inhaled. So businesses must install carbon monoxide detectors and appropriate signage wherever this gas is stored or potentially created. Proper explosion-proof equipment, like flameproof lights and intrinsically safe junction boxes, must also be installed in these areas, as carbon monoxide is highly flammable.
Risk #5: UV radiation
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is commonly used in pharmaceutical manufacturing for sterilisation or vitamin D production. However, exposure to UV radiation can damage the skin and eyes and even lead to skin cancer. Therefore, it is essential for all workers to wear PPE, including UV goggles and protective clothing, when working in UV environments. Additionally, all UV radiation sources should be appropriately labelled, and exposure limits should be set and monitored.
We hope what we have shared can help pharmaceutical manufacturers ensure their workers are safe and protected from these safety risks in the workplace. In addition to following these safety protocols, employers must ensure their employees are provided with the correct explosion-proof equipment to perform their tasks without jeopardising workers’ safety. This way, pharmaceutical manufacturing can continue to be a safe and productive industry that produces quality healthcare products for the benefit of society.
At Supermec, we aim to provide innovative, reliable, and high-quality products that meet all safety requirements at the workplace. So rest assured that all our explosion-proof equipment, including flameproof lights and intrinsically safe junction boxes, undergo stringent testing to ensure they meet the relevant safety standards. Do not hesitate to contact us today to learn more about our products and services.