Some jobs may expose workers to certain chemicals or substances that may not be safe or healthy. It is important to understand what these may be, their potential health effects, how to protect yourself from exposure, and what to do if you become sick or injured as a result.
What are five potentially dangerous substances I might be exposed to at work?
- Irritants/Corrosives – Chemicals like ammonia and sulfuric acid can harm the eyes, lungs and skin if inhaled or not handled properly.
- Carcinogens – Tars, oils and asbestos are examples of carcinogenic chemicals with which a worker may come in contact. These may cause cancer.
- Poisons – Poisonous substances like carbon monoxide can cause organ damage.
- Asphyxiants – Gases like carbon dioxide may replace or reduce oxygen concentration in the lungs, causing suffocation.
- Fibrogenics – Small fibers or dust can be cast off into the air when working on certain projects, which may lead to lung problems.
Make sure you, your coworkers, and your employer take appropriate safety precautions when using dangerous chemicals. Be sure that everybody understands his or her safety responsibilities and adheres to them accordingly. Report any unsafe conditions, accidents, or physical effects you may experience to your employer immediately.