Mis-Identification of chemicals

Mis-Identification of chemicals is a key problem for production plants specialising in batch processing, such as are commonly encountered in the fine-chemicals and pharmaceutical industries. However, firms in other industries which use different reactive chemicals to treat waste water for example - usually with purely organisational safeguards - also run this risk, as proven by numerous accounts of accidents. 

In this publication, hazards resulting from the mis-identification of chemicals are presented and preventive measures are described. Selected incident reports will draw the attention of managers and employees of companies involved along the entire logistic chain to the subject and raise their awareness in order to avoid future incidents, accidents and loss of property.
In practice, different companies have developed and implemented very different safety strategies. Human reliability plays a major role in all strategies for preventing chemical mixups. This is because, on the one hand, human beings can cause incidents themselves through operator error, and on the other hand because they can make a far more wide-ranging contribution to the detection and solution of the problem than any technical device thanks to their experience and the different ways in which they perceive things. The training and know-how of employees is therefore a key starting point when drawing up measures. However, there is no foolproof method which can guarantee the total prevention of mis-identification of chemicals.



Mis-Identification of chemicals

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Target Group:

Employees and responsible persons in all enterprises involved in the supply chain, producing, selling, transporting and using chemicals

Used Media:



Elaboration by an international working group


English and German


Dr. Joachim Sommer
Kurfuersten-Anlage 62
69115 Heidelberg
Tel: ++49 6221 523 474
Fax: ++49 6221 523 420
Mail:  joachim.sommer@bgrci.de

Homepage: www.bgrci.de