There is a major lack of chemical safety culture in Latin America. This situation has practical consequences: people who use chemical products ignore the hazards or underestimate the risks it carries and the Safety, Health & Environment (SHE) management is generally oriented more toward protection than prevention.
The objective is to create a focal point of the IUPAC Safety Training Program (STP) for Latin America, in order to offer training to improve the safety culture and solve the practical consequences just mentioned.
The benefits include better trained professionals, lower chemical risks and lower losses for the industry and the university.
[read more about the IUPAC Safety Training Program in Chem Int, Nov 2012, pp. 21-22]
Lack of information is still a barrier to effective management of chemicals, accident prevention and response in Latin America. The most effective way to improve this situation is capacity building in Safety, Health & Environment (SHE) through specialized training throughout industry and chemical colleges. Chemical safety educated professionals are the key element to turn around unsafe practices. In particular, addressing chemistry undergraduates, is expected to have a multiplier effect in the short and medium term because they will be, both professionals in the chemical industry as well as teachers in University.
An experience of this kind already exists in Uruguay. In 1997, the Safety Department was established at the College of Chemistry and since that date the students have been required to take a course on chemical safety in order to be enabled to take laboratory courses. The Safety Department has its quality management system certified according ISO 9001 standard.
This experience along with the IUPAC-UNESCO-UNIDO STP (2007, Mitsui Chemicals, Japan) are the main pillars of this project.
The current project is to share these experiences and knowledge adapting it to the Latin-America reality creating a focal point of the IUPAC STP at the College of Chemistry of Universidad de la República in Uruguay. There will be one training course per year, including industry and university participants, with a maximum of five trainees per course. The planned duration is two weeks, totaling eighty hours training. Training would include master classes, exercises, visits to chemical companies and carrying out a project applying the knowledge acquired. One goal of this project is that the trainees will become member of a network of trainees that will strengthen the STP.
For full details including schedule, program, etc, visit https://stp-la.fq.edu.uy/
The first training to be organized in Uruguay is scheduled from 17 to 28 Oct 2016
Nov 2017 update – Forty-four candidates from 10 different countries submitted applications: seven from South America (Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela), two from Central America (Costa Rica and Mexico and one from Caribbean (Cuba). Five candidates were selected and four attended an intense eighty hours program over 2 weeks. Ultimately, the projects presented by the trainees were:
1. Comprehensive management system in the upper and basic organic chemistry lab of the national University of La Plata (Argentina).
2. Importance of chemical safety application during teaching and research activities at the Zulia University (Venezuela).
3. Training process on chemical safety aspects (Ministry of Health, Costa Rica)
4. Strengthening chemical safety program for Integral Responsibility Colombia member companies (Integral Responsibility, Colombia)
Read full report_(pdf).
Page last updated 6 Nov 2017