Do you work with hazardous substances? Exposure to hazardous substances can affect the body in many different ways. Skin contact, inhalation, and ingestion can cause damage. They are dangerous for your health and can even kill you.
Hazardous Substances are used in many workplaces globally. They can be solids, liquids, gases, mists, and fumes that are present in the workplace.
The main three ways people are exposed to hazardous substances are through Inhalation, Skin Absorption, Ingestion.
Inhalation – if you can smell a hazardous substance, then you are breathing it in. However, there are substances which don’t have a smell, so it is wise to not depend solely on your nose to detect hazardous substances.
Skin Absorption – if a chemical touches your skin, it can be absorbed through your skin and enter into your blood system. This is prevented by wearing protective gloves.
Ingestion – they can be accidentally swallowed if your food is not kept in a contained box away from your workstation. Not washing your hands before eating can cause hazardous substances to be ingested as well.
Different people may react differently. So if you feel unwell when you are working with hazardous substances, tell someone about it. If you aren’t comfortable telling your boss, you can start by telling your doctor. Make sure you also tell them about your work and the substances you use.
Common effects from breathing them in are:
- Feeling dizzy, sick, irritable and grumpy
- Sore eyes, sore skin
When you breathe in hazardous substances time and time again, the long-term effects are:
- Sleep disorders.
- Memory loss.
- Damage to your internal organs like the liver and kidneys.
- Damage to an unborn child.
So, to minimise and eliminate the effects they have, businesses need to implement safety systems. Talk to your boss about the harms the hazardous products you use can cause and how to keep safe with each product.
Provide everyone who is involved with, or could be affected by the use of hazardous substances with the degree of training, instruction, and information required to ensure their safety.
- Turn on any fans or ventilation system.
- You must wear the safety gear your boss gives you to wear. This is required by law.
- Be careful when you are using hazardous substances.
- Find out whether the substances you use need to be stored away from other substances.
- Know what to do in an emergency.
- Wash your hands before eating.