Introduction to the Chemical Emergency Medical Guidelines
BASF practices thorough hazard control. Technical measures such as closed systems are one of the main steps in the prevention of exposures to chemical substances. Beyond this, there is an obligation to be optimally prepared for and respond to involuntary chemical exposures. Organized preparation and response is particularly relevant for chemicals, which potentially represent a major risk not only for employees, but also for neighbors, transporters or customers.
Against this background and in compliance with the chemical industry’s commitment to Responsible Care®, the Corporate Health Management Department of BASF Ludwigshafen developed medical guidelines for the treatment of acute exposure to chemical substances.
The "Chemical Emergency Medical Guidelines" have been developed by BASF to aid emergency health care professionals who manage acute exposures resulting from chemical incidents.
These guidelines are intended to assist emergency responders to effectively rescue and decontaminate patients while protecting themselves, to communicate with other involved personnel, and provide medical evaluation and treatment to exposed persons.
The Health Care Sections of the Guidelines are user-specific and divided into sections of information and recommendations targeted to the different levels of health-care responders potentially involved in medical response to an accidental chemical exposure. Thus, there is a separate section for use by each of the following:
- first aiders
- paramedics / on-site physicians
- hospital physicians
- ambulant patients
In each of the health care sections, the following information and recommendations are outlined for each chemical substance, amended to reflect the expertise and care setting of each type of medical provider:
- substance information – synonyms, physical and chemical properties, uses
- routes of exposure – inhalation, skin / eye contact, ingestion
- acute health effects– regarding organ systems affected by acute exposure and potential sequelae
- estimation of inhaled dose
- initial treatment
- further evaluation and treatment
- patient release/ follow-up instructions
The Information and Recommendations for Patients addresses the following issues for the exposed patient, on a chemical-specific basis:
- Substance information
- Which acute health effects can result from exposure to the chemical?
- Are future health effects likely to occur?
A “Follow-up Instructions” checklist is provided with specific symptoms of concern for each chemical substance with advice for the patients on how to deal with possible symptoms and what to observe after having been released.
References are provided at the end of each section, specific to the literature used in preparation of the individual chemical information and recommendations.