Convention concerning Safety in the use of Chemicals at Work (ILO Chemicals Convention, 1990 (No. 170))

Chemicals Convention, 1990 (No. 170), Geneva, 77th ILC session (25 Jun 1990), entry into force: 04 Nov 1993.
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Year of adoption: 1990
Year of entry into force: 1993
Legal Status:


Article 10

1. Employers shall ensure that all chemicals used at work are labelled or marked as required by Article 7 and that chemical safety data sheets have been provided as required by Article 8 and are made available to workers and their representatives.
2. Employers receiving chemicals that have not been labelled or marked as required under Article 7, or for which chemical safety data sheets have not been provided as required under Article 8, shall obtain the relevant information from the supplier or from other reasonably available sources, and shall not use the chemicals until such information is obtained.
3. Employers shall ensure that only chemicals which are classified in accordance with Article 6 or identified and assessed in accordance with Article 9, paragraph 3, and labelled or marked in accordance with Article 7 are used and that any necessary precautions are taken when they are used.
4. Employers shall maintain a record of hazardous chemicals used at the workplace, cross-referenced to the appropriate chemical safety data sheets. This record shall be accessible to all workers concerned and their representatives.

Article 11

Employers shall ensure that when chemicals are transferred into other containers or equipment, the contents are indicated in a manner which will make known to workers their identity, any hazards associated with their use and any safety precautions to be observed.

Article 12

Employers shall:

(a) ensure that workers are not exposed to chemicals to an extent which exceeds exposure limits or other exposure criteria for the evaluation and control of the working environment established by the competent authority, or by a body approved or recognised by the competent authority, in accordance with national or international standards;
(b) assess the exposure of workers to hazardous chemicals;
(c) monitor and record the exposure of workers to hazardous chemicals when this is necessary to safeguard their safety and health or as may be prescribed by the competent authority;
(d) ensure that the records of the monitoring of the working environment and of the exposure of workers using hazardous chemicals are kept for a period prescribed by the competent authority and are accessible to the workers and their representatives.

Article 13

1. Employers shall make an assessment of the risks arising from the use of chemicals at work, and shall protect workers against such risks by appropriate means, such as:
(a) the choice of chemicals that eliminate or minimise the risk;
(b) the choice of technology that eliminates or minimises the risk;
(c) the use of adequate engineering control measures;
(d) the adoption of working systems and practices that eliminate or minimise the risk;
(e) the adoption of adequate occupational hygiene measures;
(f) where recourse to the above measures does not suffice, the provision and proper maintenance of personal protective equipment and clothing at no cost to the worker, and the implementation of measures to ensure their use.
2. Employers shall:
(a) limit exposure to hazardous chemicals so as to protect the safety and health of workers;
(b) provide first aid;
(c) make arrangements to deal with emergencies.

Article 14

Hazardous chemicals which are no longer required and containers which have been emptied but which may contain residues of hazardous chemicals, shall be handled or disposed of in a manner which eliminates or minimises the risk to safety and health and to the environment, in accordance with national law and practice.

Article 15

Employers shall:

(a) inform the workers of the hazards associated with exposure to chemicals used at the workplace;
(b) instruct the workers how to obtain and use the information provided on labels and chemical safety data sheets;
(c) use the chemical safety data sheets, along with information specific to the workplace, as a basis for the preparation of instructions to workers, which should be written if appropriate;
(d) train the workers on a continuing basis in the practices and procedures to be followed for safety in the use of chemicals at work.

Article 16

Employers, in discharging their responsibilities, shall co-operate as closely as possible with workers or their representatives with respect to safety in the use of chemicals at work.

Article 18
1. Workers shall have the right to remove themselves from danger resulting from the use of chemicals when they have reasonable justification to believe there is an imminent and serious risk to their safety or health, and shall inform their supervisor immediately.
2. Workers who remove themselves from danger in accordance with the provisions of the previous paragraph or who exercise any other rights under this Convention shall be protected against undue consequences.
3. Workers concerned and their representatives shall have the right to:
(a) information on the identity of chemicals used at work, the hazardous properties of such chemicals, precautionary measures, education and training;
(b) the information contained in labels and markings;
(c) chemical safety data sheets;
(d) any other information required to be kept by this Convention.
4. Where disclosure of the specific identity of an ingredient of a chemical mixture to a competitor would be liable to cause harm to the employer’s business, the employer may, in providing the information required under paragraph 3 above, protect that identity in a manner approved by the competent authority under Article 1, paragraph 2 (b).