Chemical hazards in the workplace

When you are working in a high-risk environment that is exposed to hazardous chemicals, it is important to understand how they get into the body and the dangers that they pose to our health.

It is crucial that all employees receive training on how they can work safely in environments that have toxic chemical dangers. It is your employer's responsibility to make sure you have the appropriate safety information and protection.

How do chemicals enter the body?

Chemicals can enter the body through any kind of contact. This could be through ingesting contaminated food, or ingesting because the chemical transferred onto your hands. They could also be absorbed through the skin or through the eyes if they come in physical contact. In addition, they can be transmitted and inhaled through the air.

What can the health effects of toxic chemicals be?

The effect of the hazardous chemical can depend on the type of chemical and the amount that was absorbed by the body. There can be short-term effects such as sneezing, throat irritation or coughing. However, short-term effects can also be serious, too, and can include fainting or not being able to breathe.

Long-term effects can occur years after you were exposed to a certain chemical. These could be lung diseases, liver damage or developing certain cancers. Therefore, it is important that you visit a doctor as soon as possible if you do believe that you have been exposed to a dangerous toxic chemical.

If you become ill due to a toxic chemical at work, you may be entitled to workers' compensation for the damages suffered.

Source: OSHA, "Understanding Chemical Hazards," accessed March 08, 2018

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