Schedule – XXI

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.