Petrochemicals are the base building blocks in manufacturing an incredibly broad spectrum of products across many industries. Categorised into three main chemical groups – olefins, aromatics and synthesis gases – there are hundreds of substances that fall under the petrochemical umbrella.
They are used to manufacture fertilisers, polymers, solvents, pesticides, detergents, plastics, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, furniture and appliances, electronic equipment, textiles, packaging, clothing, paints, dyes and inks, construction materials, paper, adhesives and even some food.
Despite their ubiquitous presence, petrochemicals are far from benign. There are numerous physical, chemical and biological health hazards associated with their use, necessitating the development and implementation of a strategic safety management system that incorporates the use of suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) specifically designed for the known risks and hazards associated with this industry sector.