It is almost 12 years since the Solvents Industry Association[1] produced the first of four information films relating to the safe handling of solvents in the workplace. Originally released on DVD and online in 5 different languages (English, French, German, Spanish and Italian), ‘Safe Handling of Solvents’ remains as relevant today as it was when first released in 2006.

In association with the European Solvents Industry Group (ESIG) the release of further films in the series, ‘Solvents and Static Electricity’, ‘Solvents and IBCs’ and ‘Safe Loading and Transportation of Solvents’ followed.

The films have been developed and produced by members of the SIA Technical Committee, which is made up of representatives from a number of companies within the Association’s membership with specialist knowledge in the field of solvents.

Supported by written Guidance Notes relating to a number of safety aspects affecting the industry, the films offer an overview of safe handling procedures and filling operations, personal protective equipment, transportation and vehicle loading, and procedures to avoid the discharge of static electricity.

Safe Handling of Solvents

Although solvents are inherently safe when handled correctly, they do possess the potential to present hazards to health, safety and the environment. The short film, ‘Safe Handling of Solvents’ identifies the hazards and outlines best practice required to ensure safe handling.

As many solvents are flammable liquids, the principle hazard is of course their ability to ignite and have the potential to cause explosion under certain conditions. However, the film also covers other hazards such as exposure through contact with the skin, ingestion or inhalation, and the effects upon the environment if not handled correctly.

The film offers suggestions on simple preventative measures to minimise the risks from these hazards.

‘Safe Handling of Solvents’ is available to view or download via the SIA website, or USB copies are available free of charge from the SIA

Solvents and Static Electricity

The film ‘Solvents and Static Electricity’ deals with the sources and potential consequences of solvents coming into contact with static electricity.

Static electricity is always present in filling and off-loading processes and the potential for build-up and discharge to spark explosions, fires, and the potential for injury to operators is a constant hazard.

The film deals with good operating practice to minimise charge build-up, effective earthing and bonding, technical support available, legislation and codes of practice, with the principal aim to increase awareness among solvent users.

‘Solvents and Static Electricity’ is also available to view or download via the SIA website

Safe Loading and Transportation of Bulk Solvents by Road

The most recent of the SIA and ESIG films, ‘Safe Loading and Transportation of Bulk Solvents by Road’, is designed to support hauliers, drivers and site operators who routinely handle solvents on the move.

The film encourages best practice in the safe transportation and bulk transfer of solvents between vehicles and storage vessels

Topics covered in the film include:

• The hazards associated with solvents and solvent-based materials

• Pre-delivery inspection

• Arrival on site and induction

• Adherence to site rules and understanding emergency procedures

• Using the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

• Safe connection to loading gantries and storage vessels

• Communication between site operators and drivers

• Safeguards against static discharge and spills

• ADR requirements for vehicles and drivers

The English version of the film was launched at the SIA Annual General Meeting in October. The French, German, Italian and Spanish versions of the film were also released in March 2018..

This latest film can viewed via the link below;

Solvents and IBCs

Due to their convenient method of use and their ability to store greater volumes over a single pallet footprint, Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) have for many users become a preferred choice of container over traditional 205 litre metal drums in the storage and transportation of solvents and solvent-based products in packages in recent years.

The SIA film ‘Solvents and IBCs’ deals with the hazards associated with the use of IBCs with solvent-based materials, covering the selection of the correct type of IBC for particular solvents, operational and transport legislation, best practice in filling and decanting operations and routine inspection and maintenance.

‘Solvents and IBCs’ was produced by the Solvents Industry Association in 2010, and compliments the supporting publication, SIA Guidance Note GN51 – Selection of IBCs for Handling Hydrocarbon and Oxygenated Solvents.

‘Solvents and IBCs’ is also available to view or download via the SIA website

SIA Guidance Notes, including Guidance Note 51, can also be viewed via the website

All of the safety films produced by the SIA and ESIG are available for download free of charge via the above SIA website links, or can be obtained on a free USB memory device. Some of the films are also still available on DVD format if required.

To order a free copy containing all of the films in the series, or if you would like to receive further information, please contact Andrew Norman, SIA General Secretary;

[1] Established in 1973, the Solvents Industry Association has sought from its inception to support the UK solvents industry and consumers by promoting the safe and responsible use of solvent materials. It currently has 26 members, covering all areas of the solvents industry, including manufacturers, distributors, hauliers, chemical storage companies, packaging manufacturers, electrostatic control manufacturers, solvent recycling and distillers.

The SIA’s mission is to work to ensure that the UK’s regulatory framework relevant to the manufacture, storage, distribution and use of solvents is based on sound science and best practice.