of workers in small enterprises who handle chemicals in the course of their
work had a reading age of under 12 years and four months, leading to poor
understanding of chemical symbols and their associated terms, a recent survey has
covered five industry sectors: ladies hairdressing, dry cleaning,
electroplaters, wood-yards and garages.
survey, Characteristics of People Working with Chemical Products in Small
Firms, by W S Atkins Consultants, covered 305 firms, around 60 per cent of
which had four or fewer employees.
that communication on health and safety issues was mostly verbal. Health and
safety regimes were often found to be rudimentary, or completely absent.
were found to be little better informed and reliance was placed on suppliers as
sources of essential information.
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