Chemical incidents are events that release, misuse, or transport hazardous chemicals. The causes of such accidents are diverse, but they generally involve human error. In addition, they can have slow or abrupt onsets. In the case of natural chemical incidents, it may be difficult to detect the source of the release, so the investigation of these incidents is often conducted by an outside agency. Listed below are the most common types of chemical accidents and how to prevent them.
First, identify the affected area. The affected population should be notified. The emergency response should also address the needs of those working in the area. Some facilities may need to be shut down while others are protected by evacuation or other means. Food manufacturers should be notified of the incident, if necessary. Immediate mitigation measures may include evacuation of workers, decontamination of exposed persons, and protection of the environment. Some companies and governments have implemented policies to deal with chemical incidents in the workplace.
In the US, most chemical incidents are caused by accidents at workplaces. The first phase, or immediate response, is important for public health. It is also important to note that an initial reaction to a chemical incident should be coordinated with the next phase, or the investigation process. In the meantime, there is no point in putting out a fire. You may be asked to stay inside the facility, but this is not necessary. If you are in the area, then it is wise to remain in the building.