Manufacture, handling and usage of benzene and substances containing benzene
1. Application - This schedule shall apply in respect of factories or parts thereof in which benzene or substances containing benzene are manufactured, handled or used.
2. Definitions - For the purpose of this schedule -
(a) “substances containing benzene” means substances wherein benzene content exceeds 1 per cent by volume;
(b) “substitute” means a chemical which is harmless or less harmful than benzene and can be used in place of benzene;
(c) “enclosed system” means a system which will not allow escape of benzene vapours to the workers atmosphere; and
(d) “efficient exhaust draught” means localised ventilated effected by mechanical means for the removal of gases, vapours and dusts or fumes so as to prevent them from escaping into the air of any workroom. No draught shall be deemed to be efficient if it fails to remove smoke generated at the point where such gases, vapours, fumes or dusts originate.
3. Prohibition and substitution -
(1) Use of benzene and substances containing benzene is prohibited in the following processes :-
(a) manufacture of varnishes, paints and thinners; and
(b) cleaning and degreasing operations.
(2) Benzene or substances containing benzene shall be used as a solvent or diluent unless the process in which it is used is carried on in an enclosed system or unless the process is carried on in a manner which considered equally safe as if it were carried out in an enclosed system.
(3) Where suitable substitutes are available, they shall be used instead of benzene or substances containing benzene. This provision, however, shall not apply to the following processes:-
(a) production of benzene;
(b) process where benzene is used for chemical synthesis;
(c) motor spirits (used as fuel).
(4) The Chief Inspector may, subject to confirmation by the State Government, permit exemptions from the percentage laid down in sub-paragraph 2(a) and also from the provisions of sub-paragraph (2) of this paragraph temporarily under conditions and within limits of time to be determined after consultation with the employers and workers concerned.
4. Protection against installation -
(1) The process involving the use of benzene or substances containing benzene shall be as far as practicable be carried out in an enclosed system.
(2) Where, however, it is not practicable to carry out the process in an enclosed system, the workroom in which benzene or substances containing benzene are used shall be equipped with an efficient exhaust draught or other means for the removal of benzene vapours to prevent their escape into the air of the workroom so that the concentration of benzene in the air does not exceed 10 parts per million by volume or 30 milligrams per cubicmeter.
(3) Air analysis for the measurement of concentration of benzene vapours in air shall be carried out every 8 hours or at such intervals as may be directed by the Chief Inspector at places where process involving use of benzene is carried on and the result of such analysis shall be recorded in a register specially maintained for this purpose. If the concentration of benzene vapours in air as measured by air analysis, exceeds 10 parts per million by volume or 30 milligrams per cubicmeter, the Manager shall forthwith report the concentration to the Chief Inspector stating the reasons for such increase.
(4) Workers who for special reasons are likely to be exposed to concentration of benzene in the air of the workroom exceeding the maximum referred to in sub-paragraph (2) shall be provided with suitable respirators or face masks. The duration of such exposure shall be limited as far as possible.
5. Measures against skin contact -
(1) Workers who are likely to come in contact with liquid benzene or liquid substances containing benzene shall be provided with suitable gloves, aprons, boots and where necessary vapour tight chemical goggles, made of material not affected by benzene or its vapours.
(2) The protective wear referred to in sub-paragraph (1) shall be maintained in good condition and inspected regularly.
6. Prohibition relating to employment of women and young persons - No woman or young person shall be employed or permitted to work in any workroom involving exposure to benzene or substances containing benzene.
7. Labelling - Every container holding benzene or substances containing benzene shall have the word “Benzene” and approved danger symbols clearly visible on it and shall also display information on benzene content, warning about toxicity and warning about infallibility of the chemical.
8. Improper use of benzene-
(1) The use of benzene substances containing benzene by workers for cleaning their hands or their work clothing shall be prohibited.
(2) Workers shall be instructed on the possible dangers arising from such misuse.
9. Prohibition of consuming food, etc. in workrooms - No worker shall be allowed to store or consume food or drink in the workroom in which benzene or substances containing benzene are manufactured, handled or used. Smoking and chewing tobacco or pan shall be prohibited in such workrooms.
10. Instructions as regards risks - Every worker on his first employment shall be fully instructed on the properties of benzene or substances containing benzene which he has to handle and of the dangers involved. Workers shall also be instructed on the measures to be taken to deal with in an emergency.
11. Cautionary notices - Cautionary notices in the form specified in appendix and printed in the language easily read and understood by the majority of the workers shall be displayed in prominent places in the workrooms where benzene or substances containing benzene are manufactured, handled or used.
12. Washing facilities, cloakroom and mess room - In factories in which benzene or substances containing benzene are manufactured, handled or used, the occupier shall provide and maintain in a clean state and in good repair –
(a) washing facilities under cover, of the standard of at least one tap for every 10 persons having constant supply of water with soap, and a clean towel provided individually to each worker if so ordered by the Inspector;
(b) cloakroom with lockers for each worker, having two compartments - one for street-clothing and one for work-clothing; and
(c) a mess room furnished with tables and benches with means for warming food, provided that where a canteen or other proper arrangements exist for the workers to take their meals, the requirements of mess room shall be dispensed with.
13. Medical facilities and records of examinations and tests -
(1) The occupier of every factory to which this schedule applies, shall-
(a) employ a qualified medical practitioner for medical surveillance of the workers employed therein whose employment shall be subject to the approval of the Chief Inspector of Factories; and
(b) provide to the medical practitioner all the necessary facilities for the purpose referred to in clause (a).
(2) The record of such examinations carried out by the medical practitioner shall be maintained in a separate, register approved by the Chief Inspector of Factories, which shall be kept readily available for inspection by the Inspector.
14. Medical examination by Certifying Surgeon -
(1) Every worker employed in the processes specified in paragraph 1 shall be examined by a Certifying Surgeon within 15 days of his first employment. Such examinations shall include skin test for dermatitis and no worker shall be allowed to work after 15 days of his first employment in the factory unless certified fit for such employment by the Certifying Surgeon.
(2) Every worker employed in a manganese process shall be re-examined by a Certifying Surgeon at least once in every three calendar months and such examination shall, wherever the Certifying Surgeon considers appropriate, include all the tests in sub-paragraph (1).
(3) The Certifying Surgeon after examining a worker, shall issue a Certificate of Fitness in Form 23. The record of examination and re-examinations carried out shall be entered in the Certificate and the Certificate shall be kept in the custody of the manger of the factory. The record of each examination carried out under sub-paragraph (1) and (2), including the nature and the results of these test, shall also be entered by the Certifying Surgeon in a health register in Form 24.
(4) The Certificate of Fitness and the health register shall be kept readily available for inspection by the Inspector.
(5) If at any time the Certifying Surgeon is of the opinion that a worker is no longer fit for employment in the said processes on the ground that continuance therein would involve special danger to the health of the worker, he shall make a record of his findings in the said certificate and the health register. The entry of his findings in those documents should also include the period for which he considers that the said person is unfit to work in the said process shall be provided with alternate placement facilities unless he is fully incapacitated in the opinion of the Certifying Surgeon , in which case the person affected shall be suitably rehabilitated.
(6) No person who has been found unfit to work as said in sub-paragraph (5) shall be re-employed or permitted to work in the said processes unless the Certifying Surgeon, after further examination, again certifies him fit for employment in those processes.
Benzene and substances containing benzene
1. Hazards :
(a) Benzene and substances containing benzene are harmful.
(b) Prolonged or repeated breathing of benzene vapours may result in acute or chronic poisoning.
(c) Benzene can also be absorbed through skin which may cause skin or other diseases.
2. Preventive measures :
(a) Avoid breathing of benzene vapours.
(b) Avoid prolonged or repeated contact of benzene with the skin.
(c) Remove benzene soaked or wet clothing promptly.
(d) If any time you are exposed to high concentration of benzene vapours and exhibit signs and symptoms such as dizziness, difficulty in breathing, excessive excitation and losing of consciousness, immediately inform your factory manager.
(e) Keep all the containers of benzene closed
(f) Handle, use and process benzene and substances containing benzene carefully in order to prevent their spillage on floor.
(g) Maintain good housekeeping.
3. Protective equipment :
(a) Use respiratory protective equipment in places where benzene vapours are present in high concentration.
(b) In emergency, use self generating oxygen mask or oxygen or air cylinder masks.
(c) Wear hand gloves, aprons, goggles and gum boots to avoid contact of benzene with your skin and body parts.
4. First-aid measures in case of acute benzene poisoning :
(a) Remove the clothing immediately if it is wetted with benzene.
(b) If liquid benzene enters eyes, flush thoroughly for at least 15 minutes with clean running water and immediately secure medical attention.
(c) In case of unusual exposure to benzene vapour, call a physician immediately. Until he arrives, do the following :-
(i) If the exposed person is conscious -
(aa) Move him to fresh air in open.
(b) Lay down without a pillow and keep him quiet and warm.
(ii) If the exposed person is unconscious -
(aa) Lay him down preferably on the left side with the head low.
(bb) Remove any false teeth, chewing gum, tobacco or other foreign objects which may be in his mouth.
(cc) Provide him artificial respiration in case difficulty is being experienced in breathing.
(dd) In case of shallow breathing or cyanosis (blueness of skin, lips, ears, finger nail beds), he should be provided with medical oxygen or oxygen carbon dioxide mixture. If needed, he should be given artificial respiration. Oxygen should be administered by a trained person only.