The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) promoted safety and security management in chemical laboratories during an online workshop held from 8 to 10 June. The event was organised by the OPCW in partnership with the Italian National Research Council and the Italian Federation of Chemical Industry.
Head of the National Authority for the Chemical Weapons Convention in Italy, Counsellor Valerio Negro, highlighted in his opening remarks: “The implementation of the Convention is a daily task taking place in chemical laboratories and factories all over the world. This workshop is an example of a partnership between governmental institutions, the private sector, and academia. It demonstrates the kind of horizontal approach needed for the full implementation of the Convention.”
OPCW’s Senior Programme Officer, Mr Roman Warchol, expressed: “The workshop will equip participants with the knowledge required to make chemical laboratory operations safer and more secure. These facilities are essential to the effective implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention at the local and global levels.”
During the event, participants shared best practices and knowledge about hazardous chemicals and related risk assessment, personal protection equipment, emergency management, environmental impact, and sustainability. They also took part in a table-top exercise using a scenario involving hazardous chemicals to test emergency response and risk assessment skills.
The 45 attendees included professionals from chemical industry, research and academia, governmental agencies, and policy-making institutions. They represented the following 17 OPCW Member States: Colombia, Cuba, India, Iraq, Italy, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritius, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Tajikistan, Turkey, Tunisia, and Uruguay.
As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW, with its 193 Member States, oversees the global endeavour to permanently eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997, it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.
Over 98% of all declared chemical weapon stockpiles have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.