THE HAGUE, the Netherlands–6 December 2021–Chemistry professionals from Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC) enhanced their understandings of chemical safety during the online Safety Training Programme (STP) held from 4 October to 3 December.
The course was jointly run by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the Chemical Industries Association of Uruguay, with assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uruguay. Financial support was offered by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).
Director of the STP Programme at IUPAC, Mr Fabián Benzo, highlighted: “A lack of information and a poor safety culture constitute significant barriers to effective management of chemicals, accident prevention, and successful emergency responses in the GRULAC region. The OPCW-IUPAC STP e-learning is a safety training programme designed to eliminate these hurdles through capacity building in the industry, government, and academic institutions related to chemistry.”
The Senior Programme Officer from the OPCW’s International Cooperation Branch stated: “This programme develops the competence of chemistry professionals, furthering their ability to promote safe and responsible handling of chemicals in all stages of the life cycle. Creating such capacity in OPCW Member States is part of our mission under Article XI of the Chemical Weapons Convention on advancing peaceful applications of chemistry.”
The training provided an update on the current standards, policies, and best practices in occupational safety, chemicals hazards, handling, storage, and transport of chemicals and waste management. Participants had access to a wealth of training materials available on a dedicated e-learning platform, and consisting of five modules covering safety, chemicals, security, emergencies, and management and culture.
The trainees who pass the final test will be awarded a certificate, while those who successfully complete the final project will become STP Associate Fellows and recognised on the IUPAC/STP website.
Participants included 15 chemistry experts specialised in environment, health, safety, and security related to the use of chemicals. They represented the following 13 OPCW Member States: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, and Uruguay.
As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW, with its 193 Member States, oversees the global endeavour to permanently eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997, it has been the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapon of mass destruction.
Over 98% of all declared chemical weapon stockpiles have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.