Most industries and workplaces use chemicals to clean work areas, bathrooms, floors, warehouses, kitchens, and more. In fact, cleaning chemicals can be found in nearly every type of workplace, ranging from a schoolhouse to an industrial plant.
While cleaning chemicals can be great at getting the job done, they can also be hazardous when not handled properly. Read on to learn more about some of the most common hazardous chemicals in the workplace.
Bleach is one of the most common types of cleaning products that is used in both homes and workplaces in the United States. Bleach is often used to sanitize, and therefore can be found in cleansers such as toilet cleaners. The active ingredient in chlorine bleach is sodium hypochlorite.
When sodium hypochlorite comes in contact with other chemicals, the results can be disastrous. Mixing bleach with ammonia creates toxic gases called chloramines, which cause serious health problems like pneumonia and fluid in the lungs. Bleach is also dangerous when mixed with acid products, or when it comes in contact with the skin or is ingested.
Ammonia is another common hazardous chemical cleaning product that, when handled incorrectly, can be dangerous. According to the New York Department of Health, most ammonia exposure is caused by inhalation of ammonia fumes or vapors.
When inhaled, ammonia can cause the following.
- A burning sensation of the nose
- Alveolar edema
- Airway destruction
- Respiratory distress
When ammonia comes in contact with the skin, irritation may occur. Severe burns may result when the skin exposure is great. If ammonia is ingested, particularly in large amounts, corrosive damage to the mouth, throat, and stomach may occur.
Hydrochloric acid is commonly found in toilet bowl cleaners that are used by workplaces in the U.S. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, if skin comes in contact with hydrochloric acid, burns may result.
Hydrochloric acid is corrosive to these body parts.
- Mucus membranes
Suggestions for Cleaning Chemical Safely
Hazardous cleaning chemicals can be extremely dangerous when used improperly. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration recommends that workplaces choose safer cleaning products, such as green cleaners that may not be as hazardous. Thorough worker training regarding the handling of chemical cleaners is also a must – employers should ensure that workers who use or come in contact with hazardous chemicals in the workplace are trained to use the chemicals properly.
Call Gacovino & Lake if Harmed by a Dangerous Workplace Cleaning Chemical
If you’ve been injured by a cleaning chemical in the workplace, you may be able to file a lawsuit for damages through a third-party liability suit, or file a workers’ compensation claim. Much depends on the circumstances of your case, such as whether you, your employer, a co-worker, or another party is responsible for your accident and injuries. At Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C., our attorneys can help you decide which option(s) may be available for you. To schedule a consultation, call us now at 800-550-0000 or fill out our online contact form.