Chemical risk in paper industry?
The interest of the paper industry market is first of all linked to the complex process required by the production of paper.
Two distinct manufacturing operations can be set-up according to the quality of paper needed: mechanical process (mechanical pastes for newsprints and magazines) or chemical process (chemical pastes for writing, impression or packing: sulphite pastes and sulphate pastes or kraft) during which the wood fibres are insulated with chemicals such as bisulfites or sulphates.
Various services and workers are exposed to the chemical risk during the manufacturing processes
- Production: production operators (operations on the machines: loading, preparation of raw materials, preparation and treatment of the paper pulp: mix of raw materials, additives, dosages)
- Maintenance: maintenance technicians (operations on drains, valves, pipes and cisterns)
- Logistic: storekeeper/driver (chemicals storage operations, batteries rooms)
- Laboratories: laboratory technicians (analysis, research and development)
The 2 principal steps concerned with the chemical risk are the paper pulp production and the paper and paperboard transformation/shaping.
Paper pulp production
The risk of accident is met :
- During pulp bleaching with the use of chlorine or caustic acids, bases and usual solvents.
- During waste paper recycling, which is more and more frequent for environmental protection.
- During decanting operations, despite the closed-circuit decanting systems, there are still risks of major splashes at the connections.
- During colouring, near the dye baths.
- In the machine rooms, e.g. during machine cleaning with sulphuric acid.
Paper and paperboard transformation/shaping
Paper pulp is transformed into: paperboard, newsprint paper and packaging paper.
Chemical products used:
- 50% or 70% hydrogen peroxide
- peracetic acid
- sodium peroxyde
- caustic soda
- sulphuric acid
- resins, etc…
- hydrogen sulphur (H2S : toxic gas)
- sulphur dioxyde (SO2 : toxic and corrosive gas)