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IUPAC Contributes to Global Chemical Safety by Training Leaders in Developing Countries

Bernard West, President Westworks Consulting Limited, Past Chair, IUPAC Committee on Chemistry and Industry, Past Coordinator, IUPAC COCI Safety Training Program Robert Audette, STP Coordinator, IUPAC COCI Safety Training Program

1Introduction

Managing chemicals safely and securely has always been an issue and has become even more important in the last few years. The chemical industry has had a major focus on safety for decades, in the developed world it is very safe to work in the industry compared to other industry segments. The ICCA report card shows the reduction in injuries over the last decade.  (see video below) There are, however, gaps in safety practices not only in the developing areas of the world, but also in the academic and government laboratories in more highly-developed economies.

There is a focus on safety and security management of chemicals world-wide. The chemical industry, through the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) Responsible Care Process is working with the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) to improve safety practices. The ICCA companies are approaching this by focusing on introducing the Responsible Care process in developing economies and are currently concentrating on African countries.

A long-term key goal of IUPAC has been to build chemistry-based capacity in developing countries. This involves actively pursuing a better understanding of chemistry and training people throughout academic institutions, industries, governments, and the public. IUPAC supports the ICCA via IUPAC’s Committee on Chemistry and Industry’s Safety Training Program and because IUPAC and ICCA have congruent goals to build safety and security capabilities.

2IUPAC Safety Training Programme

IUPAC identified the need for personnel training and the encouragement of capacity building in facilities and together with a change in attitudes to help to improve both safety and security. The IUPAC Committee on Chemistry and Industry (COCI) initiated a Safety Training Programme (STP) in 1992. It was re-established and re-vamped in 1999 by Dr. Mark Cesa and continues through to today.

The goal of STP is to encourage mid-career chemists and chemical engineers who have leadership potential and are working in developing countries to apply for an STP Fellowship. Once accepted as being eligible for this STP Fellowship Training, the trainee then spends two to three weeks of safety training at a Chemical company [the Host] with expertise in safe practices. After training the trainee submits detailed reports to the STP Coordinator and, if accepted, is designated a COCI “STP Fellow”. The STP Fellow is expected to use the knowledge gained to provide leadership and help improve the safety performance of the Chemical Industry in their home territory, not only in their specific workplace, but also more broadly throughout academic institutions, industries, governments, and the public.

3STP Fellow Profiles

Profiles of STP Fellows are below. These STP Fellows have shown excellent efforts in their follow up activities. The four main themes that run through these STP Fellows’ accomplishments are:

  1. Enthusiasm
  2. Equipment upgrading
  3. Awareness building
  4. Government / Institutional regulations and procedures with teeth.

 

The Safety Training Programme is publicized in magazines and by support groups in order to have individuals apply for a STP Fellowship. There is an application form on the IUPAC website. This, along with a CV and reference letter, is sent to the STP Coordinator. Applications are vetted and if approved by COCI the applicant becomes eligible for STP Fellowship training. Host companies are then sought out and choose from the list of eligible STP Fellow candidates. The Training is organised at a mutually-agreeable time for two to three weeks. The trainee prepares a detailed report on the training and proposes a list of follow-up actions that they will accomplish at home. Once the initial report is received and approved by the STP Coordinator and COCI Chair the trainee is designated a COCI “STP Fellow”. Reports can be seen on the web site ( https://iupac.org/who-we-are/committees/committee-details/safety-training-program-fellows/).

Overview of the geographic distribution of the Host Companies and STP Trainees since the program started in 1992.

Among the latest changes to the programme is regional training in Latin America for STP Associate Fellows in local languages. The first STP Latin American regional training course was held in Uruguay in Spanish in October 2016, led by the 2007 STP Fellow, Professor Fabian Benzo. It continued in 2018 with a second STP-LA Associate Fellow course in Uruguay. The STP-Indian regional training involves several safety orientation presentations led by 2008 STP Fellow, Dr. Gursharn Grover. In the future there are plans to build a STP regional training in Kenya and other parts of Africa.

 

A COCI STP Workshop at which STP Fellows are invited to speak about their progress and accomplishments since their training is held at the Biennial IUPAC General Assembly.

As of early 2018, 19 STP Fellows and 4 STP Associate Fellows from 11 countries in Africa, India, China and Latin America have been trained. More host companies are currently needed to participate in training of STP Fellow candidates.

Please contact Robert Audette the current STP Coordinator (STP@IUPAC.ORG) if you would like to know more.

 

The IUPAC COCI Safety Training Program gratefully acknowledges financial and in-kind support from the various Host Companies as well as from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Civilian Research and Development Foundation (CRDF), the Chemical Security Program (CSP), the IUPAC Project Committee, and the IUPAC Committee on Chemistry, and Industry. Thank you!

 

 

4Ahmed Fahmy A. Youssef, STP trainee from Egypt

Dr. Youssef is a professor of analytical chemistry who also works on numerous projects in his home country of Egypt to address problems related to chemical waste management, environmental protection, and air pollution monitoring. His goal was to increase his practical knowledge of environmental process safety management programs. As a result of the Safety Training Program Dr. Youssef hoped to address the factors that make the implementation of safety programs in the Middle East recycling industry more challenging. These include language, lack of good internet access, and lack of training programs. There is also a lack of hazard awareness.

In advance of his May 2015 visit, members of the Bayer Crop Science Quality, Health, Safety and Environment (QHSE) team, Patrick Ragan, Rehan Baig, and Lennie Scott, developed a detailed agenda with a variety of training sessions and off-site visits, including a Bayer production facility in West Virginia, a local landfill waste disposal facility, and the chemical waste handling facility at North Carolina State University. He participated in spill control training, made a site visit to a hazardous waste treatment facility, and participated in a risk analysis/assessment. Dr. Youssef was invited to attend the Global QHSE North America Spring Community Meeting, where he gave a brief presentation about his work, and he attended the 11th Global Congress on Process Safety in Austin, Texas. He also paid a visit to the IUPAC Secretariat office in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

As a result of his training, Dr. Youssef shared photographs of the chemical storage situation in Tripoli for 70 tons on material (5000 individual chemicals). He learned that a large portion of this can be reused. During his training at Bayer Crop Protection, he learned that a number of valuable things can be leveraged. Upon his return to Cairo, he reviewed the student lab work and has started replacing hazardous chemicals. They are moving to a scheme of using the prepared materials from one level as the raw material for the next level to reduce waste. He plans to work with CRDF to develop a curriculum on hazardous waste. Regarding the recycling of chemicals, there are two primary commercial programs. Hydrochloric acid can be used with calcium carbonate and rocks containing phosphorous to create dicalcium phosphate. Also, the salt can be recovered from some waste streams and reused (MgCl2, Bromine salts, etc.). He encouraged the expansion of the program, especially for remediation for chemical contaminated areas. See Dr. Youssef’s final report (pdf) for more details.

Dr. Ahmed Fahmy A. Youssef was hosted by Bayer U.S. Crop Science in May 2015.

5Christine Ashaolu, STP trainee from Nigeria

Ms. Ashaolu is Chief Regulatory Officer at the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in Abuja, Nigeria.

Nigeria has the largest population and is the largest economy in Africa. It has a lot of industry – chemical, oil and gas, food and beverage, and building chemicals/materials). Nigeria imports many goods, and this requires a system of permits and controls. The agency where Christine works, the NAFDAC (National agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control), is in charge of food, drug, packaged water, cosmetics, medical devices, and chemicals. National Silicates is committed to Responsible Care and Health, Safety, and the Environment (HSE). Christine was able to visit eight other companies and agencies, including the Ontario Ministry of Environment, in the Toronto area. She noticed immediately that safety has preference in all company meetings and activities. Risk analysis, incident reporting, emergency response plans, and chemical management were clear priorities. She saw safe practice in chemical storage, disposal, and handling.

In July of 2017, she attended the IUPAC Committee on Chemistry and Industry Safety Training Program Workshop and gave a presentation of some of her activities in Nigeria since she returned. Ms. Ashaolu has shared her training with her leadership and colleagues and has conducted a lot of public outreach. Media and brochures have been created for the public. Working with the chemical industry is more challenging, but she is committed to reach out to them. She has monthly training for colleagues. She has spoken at compulsory development programs on entrepreneurship in chemistry, the National Center Disease Control (NCDC) and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons workshops. She is able to make the topic relevant to each audience. Each time, she generates contacts that ask questions. Speaking to the NCDC resulted in the creation of a chemical events group.

Ms. Ashaolu has appeared on television in Nigeria and has increased awareness of chemical safety and she reaches a large audience. Christine received an award and a promotion for this achievement. For industry, she now has improved knowledge of Safety Data Sheets, risk analysis, documentation and reporting, as well as staff welfare.

Looking to the future, Christine is encouraging more use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and on-spot detecting devices (funding is an issue), documentation, and outreach to secondary schools. The big multinational have good programs internally, but no funds to help locally in Nigeria. One of the biggest safety issues is the disposal of expired chemicals. Something that is endemic across much of Africa and other lesser-developed economies.

Many users do not understand safety data sheets, what they contain, or how they are used. Christine has focused more on awareness to drive change, especially with her television interviews and radio broadcasts. She does get many calls and questions from users that want to do a better job of chemical safety. She does talk with Professor Jonathan Babalola (2013 STP Fellow at the University of Ibadan), who focuses more on academia outreach. Christine estimates 5 million people have been reached by her television outreach! Christine continues to seek new information and expertise. Recently she has been on an environmental course in Spain and aspires to get a PhD.

She is a woman who is very dedicated to improving the safe use of chemistry based products in Nigeria. Her STP Fellowship has been a stepping stone to help her meet her goals.

Ms. Christine Ashaolu was hosted by National Silicates, Canada, a PQ Company in August 2015.

6Steve Nyamori, STP trainee from Kenya

Steve Nyamori is Deputy Director of the Kenya National Cleaner Production Centre (KNCPC) in Nairobi, Kenya. The Vision of Nyamori’s organization is “To be a Centre of Excellence in Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production in Eastern Africa”, and their Mission is “To build national capacity for Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production application in enterprises through awareness creation, training, project implementation, and policy advice for increased enterprise productivity and sound environmental management”. Link to KNCPC introduction

The training program was tailored to cover almost all the aspects on safety and environment in a chemical processing plant. The systems and programs that the plant is implementing and those that it is planning to undertake were also incorporated in the program. Attending some of the planned meetings that are related to safety was also an idea that enhanced the training program as it gave a firsthand experience to the trainees on how the challenges on safety and environment in the plant are handled. The guided walk through the plant while looking for/at specific aspects on safety during the training proved to be important as it blended the theoretical aspects with what is implemented in the plant.

The training program was also tailored to cover almost all the aspects on safety and environment at the corporate level for a Head Quarters that is in charge of several business units involved in Chemicals Manufacturing. The systems and programs that the corporation wants implemented and those that it is developing and planning to roll out for implementation by its business units were also incorporated in this training.

Attending some of the planned meetings that are related to safety and induction of new managers was also an idea that enhanced the training program as it gave a firsthand experience to the trainees on how the challenges on safety and environment in the plant are handled.

The guided walk through the labs, firefighting equipment training site and store, waste management sites, processing plants and workshops while looking for/at specific aspects on safety during the training proved to be important as it blended the theoretical aspects with what is implemented in these sites.

Mr. Nyamori has committed to carry out a number of follow-up initiatives through the Centre. The proposed activities are shown below. Also, Mr. Nyamori said that they will assist in building a STP Regional training for Kenya and other parts of Africa. This is an important initiative and will help the International Chemical Industry (International Council of Chemical Associations, ICCA) to accomplish their goals around the safe use of chemicals though Responsible Care in various parts of Africa (https://www.icca-chem.org/responsible-care/).

Steve’s initiatives will run in conjunction with the KNCPC objectives, which are:

  1. Regular Capacity Building.
  2. Promotion of Innovative Chemical Management Approaches in the African Region (Kenya).
  3. Switch Africa Green (SAG) Promoting Sustainable Consumption and Production Practices and Eco-entrepreneurship. Greening the leather clusters and the Leather Tanning Industry in Kenya.
  4. Chemical Safety Management and Responsible Production

He has developed specific actions, based on the knowledge gained in his training, to enhance movement to meeting these Kenyan goals. More specific information is available in the final STP report (pdf) that Steve produced along with a time line of follow-up actions.

 

Mr. Steve Nyamori, STP’s latest STP Fellowship trainee, was hosted by the Solvay Peroxides Unit in Warrington, U.K. in April 2017.

7Gursharn Singh Grover, STP trainee from India

Dr. Grover is the Chief Scientist at the National Chemical Laboratory, Pune, Maharashtra, India. He was hosted in 2008 by Novozymes, Denmark, an enzyme production and Research and Development facility. Risk assessment is a fundamental pillar, along with accident reporting and investigations, preparation and use of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), crises and disaster management, and environmental services. Dr. Grover learned to ask “why, why, why” during accident investigations to learn the real root cause.

Dr. Grover has been one of the most active STP Fellows in his home territory. As an active member of the Indian National Research Council he has been able to visit many sites of the Council and raise awareness and give training about safety practices. He has also reached out to groups in the general public. He has probably been in contact with over 10,000 people.

At the end of his training his list of commitments in the STP training report included an 8-point Plan for the local institution and a 3-point Plan for local / state level.

India is a very large country, and Dr. Grover focused on the National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) and the region first. There were about 1,200 people at the facility, and they have the largest number of PhD students in Chemical and Life Sciences in India. Most of the 550 PhD students arrive with very little safety training.

What changes has he made in India? He has accomplished the following: safety orientation courses for new entrants at NCL (35-40 people /month); created lasting awareness about hazardous, toxic, or flammable chemicals; produced short courses once a month for 5 hours (3 modules), exhaustive courses (10 hours each, 6 modules); has had the participation of more than 600 staff and students. Subjects include Material Safety Data Sheers (MSDS), risk assessment, systems, procedures and techniques, handling, storage, and disposal of chemicals, emergency procedures, ergonomics, case studies, and video clips, and disaster prevention. He uses real-world examples to drive the point home and offers best practices – such as the Chemical Safety Board videos (www.csb.gov – see the video room page or investigation page).

Dr. Grover also tried to reach students personally and touch their heart; his passion for this comes through. He helped them think through some scenarios. Compares the chemical safety pictograms to road signs – and why they should not be ignored. He has been invited to provide seminars and short courses at other R&D labs, universities, and institutions within India. He has implemented solvent storage cans and cabinets, toxic and hazardous waste disposal systems, emergency plans, mock drills, and risk assessments, costing approximately $250,000. Focus is needed more on education and examples to drive culture change and not simply compliance.

Based on the number of invitations to speak outside NCL, Dr. Grover and STP have a broader impact. The “mandate from IUPAC” provides significant support in driving changes. Even with this progress, major challenges and concerns still exist, such as the disposal of solvents, effluent treatment, overcrowding of labs, safety awareness at lower levels of education, lack of ownership/awareness of chemical hazards, PPE, and MSDS. While he has support from his institution, he could use more support and funding.

Dr. Grover has now retired from NRC but continues his mission on safety. He is leading an IUPAC Project to establish a Regional STP Program in parts of India. He is being supported in this by Dr. Saha who is now a Titular member of the Committee of the Committee on Chemistry and Industry and R&D Director for Nagarjuna Agrichemical Limited Chemical Company. He also organized a symposium at BITS Pilani Goa with very positive feedback. He has suggested that every symposium should have safety as a topic, and he challenges IUPAC to include at least one presentation on safety at every IUPAC-sponsored conference. See Dr. Grover’s final report (PDF) for more details.

Dr. Gursharn Singh Grover was hosted by Novozymes in June 2008. He is seen here giving an STP-India safety orientation presentation in February 2018.

8Fabian Benzo, STP trainee from Uruguay

Professor Benzo is Titular Director with the Facultad de Quimica at Universidad de la República, Montevideo, Uruguay. He was hosted in August 2007 by Mitsui Chemicals, Japan. (group picture below right: Benzo, 4th from left, and Godfred Ansah Nyarko (2nd from right) during their visit at Mitsui Chemicals in 2007). He was trained on all aspects of the regular safety training that employees of Mitsui are trained on. Full details are in the final report (PDF) of the training at the IUPAC STP website.

Professor Benzo left the STP Training in Japan with a commitment to implement a number of initiatives in Uruguay. He classified the actions under Management and Teaching. He focused on two main areas: Management actions and teaching actions. His management actions have been to take steps to advance implantation of a safety management system in the Chemistry College of University and to attempt to implement a safety management system based on the OHSAS 18001 standard in the industry in Uruguay. His teaching actions have been to share experience and knowledge from the STP and to study presenting a project proposal to IUPAC for a Regional Latin-American STP training in Spanish.

Fabian has reported positively on his progress as IUPAC STP Workshops. He also developed the Regional Training proposal which was supported by IUPAC and UNITAR. The first Regional STP-Latin America training was organized by Professor Fabian Benzo, an 2007 STP Fellow from Uruguay. It was held in Spanish at the University of Montevideo in October 2016 (see www.iupac.org/project/2016-021-1-022).

Forty-Four people applied from many countries in Latin America. Five people were chosen and four were trained (the fifth person fell ill at the last minute). Attendees were from Argentina, Venezuela, Columbia, and Costa Rica. The course was 80 hours over two weeks and attendees rated the course very highly. Upon completing the training, they were designated STP Associate Fellows. They all committed to carry our safety related activity in their organizations when they returned home.

Prof. Fabian Benzo was hosted in August 2007 by Mitsui Chemicals, Japan. (see CI Nov 2012, p. 21). Professor Benzo leads the STP-Latin America regional training course for STP Associate Fellows. (see IUPAC project 2018-021-1-022)

9Esma Toprak, STP trainee from Turkey

Ms. Toprak is Chief Chemical Engineer in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey. Esma was one of the 1st STP Fellowship trainees and she was hosted in April 2000 by BP Amoco Chemicals Inc., Naperville, IL., USA (now INEOS).

Esma extended her presentations on safety beyond the Universities and into industrial companies. The chemical industry is growing quickly in Turkey with about 4,000 producers; 70% of products are intermediate and raw materials, about 30% goes to consumers. In Turkey, the majority of accidents occur because of working conditions and lack of safety education, rather than personal mistakes. There are a number of root causes related to working conditions. Some groups are more vulnerable than others, with accidents more likely in textiles, mining, and dockyard industries. However, Turkey is adopting European Union (EU) technical standards. In June 2012, an OH&S law number 6331 was introduced, that covers the framework for safety, based on an EU directive. The Regulation outlines key elements that must exist and applies to all public and private sectors.   It covers the powers responsibilities; e.g., the rights, and obligations of both employees and employers. Risk assessment, emergency procedures, medical examination of employees, and other issues are all covered. Environment, Health, and Safety (EH&S) experts are a growing profession due to this law. Penalties are defined and enforced. Esma is happy to see these regulations evolve, but there are still many improvements required throughout society and the chemical sector.

The full array of safety training, including the manuals which were used for employees in BP. Esma was able to take this home for use in her follow up.

Esma Toprak was one of the first millennium STP Fellows. She worked in the Chemical Engineering department as the Chief Chemical Engineer and Summer Training Coordinator.

Esma was trained in 2000 at BP Amoco Chemicals, now INEOS, in Naperville, Illinois, USA and has made significant impact at the Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey. During her training, she recognized a number of gaps at her home institution and has focused on addressing them. These include: creating a department safety manual, short courses, seminars, and sharing best practices to students and staff; enforcing protective personal equipment usage; creating an EH&S team; investing in safety showers and eye washes; carrying out drills for fire and earthquakes; and creating lab/process unit safety binders. Finances were limited, so Esma went to the alumni advisory board and they provided support to purchase safety facilities and equipment. The transition to the use of Personal Protection Equipment was difficult, but it was established as routine expected practice. Esma collected feedback about the educational programs from the students themselves and feedback from company evaluations of interns. In addition, if the companies hosting interns are not following safety practices, the university works with them to improve practices (or else they will not place students there).

Esma’s commitment to using her STP training at Boğaziçi University, and then later at other Universities around Turkey, was ground breaking in Turkey. One of the interesting follow-up activities was that in her Chemical Engineering Department the students’ results became contingent upon them taking the safety courses AND complying with the safety practices.

Esma extended her presentations on safety beyond the Universities and into industrial companies. The chemical industry is growing quickly in Turkey with about 4,000 producers; 70% of products are intermediate and raw materials and about 30% goes to consumers. In Turkey, the majority of accidents occur because of working conditions and the lack of safety education, rather than because of personal mistakes. There are a number of root causes related to working conditions. Some groups are more vulnerable than others, with accidents more likely in textiles, mining, and dockyard industries. However, Turkey is adopting to EU technical standards. In June 2012, an OH&S law (number 6331) was introduced, that covers the framework for safety and is based on an EU directive. The Regulation outlines key elements that must exist and applies to all public and private sectors.   It covers the powers, responsibilities, rights, and obligations of employees and employers. Risk assessment, emergency procedures, medical examination of employees, and other issues are all covered. EH&S safety experts are a growing profession due to this law. Penalties are defined and enforced.  Esma is happy to see these regulations evolve, but there are still many improvements required throughout society and the chemical sector.

Esma has been an excellent role model for later Fellows, especially those in Academic organizations. In addition to her leadership in safety, Esma volunteered to join the Committee on Chemistry and Industry first as a Titular Member and then as an Associate Member and attend all of the committee meetings, reporting on her progress. She also always brought a box of Turkish Delight to those meetings! Esma concluded her time on COCI and presented her last STP update at the IUPAC meeting in Istanbul in 2013. She also retired from the University in that year, and still keeps in touch with the STP. See her final report (PDF) for more details.

Ms. Esma Toprak was hosted in April 2000 by BP Amoco Chemicals Inc., Naperville, IL., USA (now INEOS)

References

  1. IUPAC Committee on Chemistry and Industry, Safety Training Program - https://iupac.org/who-we-are/committees/coci-safety-training-program/

Citation

West, B. and Audette, R. (2 August 2019) "IUPAC Contributes to Global Chemical Safety by Training Leaders in Developing Countries" IUPAC 100 Stories. Retrieved from https://iupac.org/100/stories/safety-training-program/. (Accessed: day month year)

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