OPCW supports Member States from Latin America and Caribbean to improve hazard communication and prevent chemical incidents

Experts from Latin American and the Caribbean (GRULAC) Member States of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) expanded their knowledge of national chemical management strategies through hazard communication during an advanced online workshop held on 16 July.

The training was led by the OPCW and will assist governments from the GRULAC region in creating national action plans on chemical safety and security management. A principal focus was hazard communication, a key area in chemical safety management framework dealing with the identification and communication of chemical hazards in the workplace.

During the opening session, OPCW’s Senior Programme Officer from the International Cooperation Branch, Dr Rohan Perera, stated: “Governments in the GRULAC region appreciate the importance of putting in place national action plans in the area of chemical safety and security, including provisions for hazard communication. To support this endeavour, the OPCW continues to work closely with its Member States, despite the current global health crisis, and facilitate the acquisition of skills and knowledge that will minimise threats to chemical plants’ personnel and material assets.”

The participants reviewed the resources, tools, and competencies needed to effectively promote chemical safety and security management strategies. During the table-top exercise, the attendees worked through the scenario of a chemical incident due to a lack of proper hazard communication.

The course also provided information on how to structure a chemical safety and security national action plan and evaluation matrix. The national plans aim to provide a clear and actionable path towards the prevention of chemical accidents and incidents and misuse of highly toxic chemicals.

Participants included 25 representatives of chemical industry and industry associations, National Authorities, government departments, and academia from the following nine OPCW Member States: Bahamas, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay.

Background

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.

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