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 SHE (Safety, Health & Environment) management is generally oriented more toward protection than prevention.
In October of 2016 the first edition of IUPAC-UNITAR-STP-LA (IUPAC project 2016-021-1-022) took place with the participation of 4 trainees (Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Venezuela). This 2-week IUPAC COCI STP-LA STP Associates training program received great evaluation of the trainees and IUPAC itself (STP workshop, Sao Paulo 2017). Forty-four candidates from ten 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). There are many great candidates at least in the other six countries that submitted candidates who weren’t selected.
The objective of this project is to continue with the STP-LA project by giving priority to candidates of the not selected countries. The maximum number of trainees will be five due to educational and financial reasons. The benefits include improvement of safety culture, better trained professionals, lower chemical risks and lower losses for the industry and the university.
This 2-week STP-Latin America, STP Associates Training project (second edition) represents also an opportunity for IUPAC to strengthen the STP and regional presence in Latin America.
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 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 as a prerequisite to taking laboratory courses. The Safety Department has its quality management system certified according ISO 9001 standard.
Some of the results achieved on the first edition of the 2 week STP-LA, STP Associates Training are: the acquisition of new equipment to improve the chemical storage and the installation of new fume hoods at the National University of La Plata, three trainings workshops for chemical companies adhering to the Responsible Care Program in Colombia, the approval of a chemical safety training program for ministry officials in Costa Rica and the modification of de curriculum adding obligatory safety courses in the University of Zulia (Venezuela).
With this second edition of a 2 week STP-Latin America, STP Associates Training is in the focal point of the IUPAC STP at the College of Chemistry of Universidad de la República in Uruguay, which supports this project. Partnership with UNITAR and financial support from Switzerland Government is appreciated and acknowledged. This second edition would be executed according the pacification of the first one (educational topic, activities, total hours and duration).
See more at https://stp-la.fq.edu.uy/
Project announcement published in CI Oct 2018, p. 32; https://doi.org/10.1515/ci-2018-0422
Dec 2018 update – See activity report (pdf) 2018-021-1-022_STP-LA2_rpt20181223
Page last update 14 Aug 2019