Chemical hazards refer to the risks associated with using chemicals in the workplace. When ingested, these hazardous materials pose significant health risks to workers, including:
- Acid burns
Read more about identifying hazards in the workplace and how Axiom’s line of safety products helps manage chemical hazard issues.
Types of Chemical Hazards
Chemicals that cause adverse health symptoms are known as health hazards. Examples include:
- Corrosive: Materials that cause skin burns and eye damage
- Toxic: Chemicals that have life-threatening effects in small amounts and with limited exposure
- Harmful: Hazards that cause serious and prolonged health effects
- Irritation: Exposure leads to less severe symptoms like redness or rash
Physical hazards are defined by the intrinsic properties of the chemicals, and are organized into five main classes:
- Explosive: Risks explosion when exposed to fire, heat, or friction
- Flammable: Ignites when exposed to sparks or heat
- Oxidising: Burns even without air and intensifies fire when mixed with combustible materials
- Gas under pressure: Contains gas and may explode if heated
- Corrosive: Contains corrosive metals
Routes of Entry for Chemical Hazards
There are four primary routes of entry for chemical exposure.
Skin and Eye Contact
One of the most common ways for chemicals to enter the body is through direct contact with the skin or eyes. Skin contact with a hazardous chemical may result in a burn or rash or lead to absorption into the bloodstream, while eye exposure can lead to painful irritation or loss of sight.
Another common route of entry for hazardous chemicals is through the respiratory tract. Gases, vapors, and aerosols transported to the lungs or absorbed into the bloodstream lead to dizziness, drowsiness, or lung damage.
Although direct ingestion of a hazardous chemical is unlikely, exposure can occur due to touching the mouth with contaminated hands or swallowing inhaled particles. Once ingested, the substances may be ingested into the bloodstream or may damage the digestive system.
Injection occurs through mishaps with needles, when handling animals, or through accidents with broken glassware. Chemicals injected directly into the body cause tissue and organ damage.
How Can Hazardous Substances Be Identified?
Avoiding chemical hazards is one of the most effective preventive strategies against exposure. Companies are obligated to implement a thorough risk assessment and have control measures in place to protect workers. These include:
Documenting your chemical inventory is an important first step for identifying hazards. Training employees on each chemical’s exact properties and maintaining a list of all chemicals stored onsite helps employees avoid chemical hazards. Also, provide safety data sheets (SDS) that include the associated dangers of each substance; all SDS should be located in convenient areas and outline classification and risks.
Storing all hazardous chemicals in secure containers helps prevent damage and avoid serious incidents. These storage containers should identify hazards and be stored near necessary safety equipment in case of chemical spills or leaks.
Risks aren’t restricted to chemical agents or containers that identify hazards; industrial processes like welding or grinding also produce harmful chemicals. Training workers on any project that maxes toxic materials and reviewing emergency procedures help minimize risks.
Keeping a record of incident reports helps provide a useful source of safety information. If accidents occur, it’s important to evaluate work practices for any hazards. Review operating procedures around access to chemical storage areas, how chemicals are used, and weather safety equipment is available.
Assign hazardous chemical safety responsibilities to an employee with knowledge of safety legislation, best practices, and workplace safety processes. This supervisor may delegate duties but needs to serve as the main point of contact with emergency personnel.
Looking to avoid chemical hazard exposure in your workplace? Contact Axiom today and see how our protects help your employees properly manage chemical hazards.
Avoid Chemical Hazard Exposure With Axiom’s Line of Safety Products
Axiom Products understands the importance of managing chemical hazards in the workplace; this is why we developed our Accu-Tech line of chemical safety products to assist in the safe handling and disposal of chemicals. Our innovative line of personal protective equipment (PPE) includes:
Reusable PVC and Nitrile Gloves
We designed our selection of nitrile and PVC gloves to withstand regular use while delivering unmatched chemical resistance and performance in any workplace environment. Some of the features of our chemical handling gloves include:
- Designed for handling chemicals
- Individually packaged for sanitation
- Provides all-day comfort and protection
- Extended cuffs that increase splash resistance
- Consistent grip even when wet or handling small objects
Jet Rinse Triple-Rinsing Nozzle
Our Jet Rinse Triple-Rinsing Nozzle is ideal for rinsing and disposing of chemical containers. It removes up to 99% of residue in less than one minute, and the sharp point punctures metal and plastic containers, rendering them unusable. The nozzle is small enough to fit in one hand and connects to virtually any hose, allowing you to chemically rinse containers anywhere.
Avoiding eye contact from chemical exposure is a priority for your workers, and Axiom’s selection of indirect-vented and non-vented goggles provides the protection they need. Our products exceed the chemical handling safety requirements for various industries and offer the following benefits:
- Fog-free for enhanced visibility
- Impact-resistant for improved safety
- Lightweight design for all-day comfort
Manage Chemical Hazard Risk With Axiom Products
Axiom specializes in bringing the highest-quality safety equipment to help businesses identify hazards and prioritize protecting their employees. Contact Axiom today to learn more about how our safety products allow you to manage chemical hazard concerns.