We will briefly consider examples of chemical hazards.
Chemical hazards are those set of chemicals which have the potential to cause damage to humans or environment when release into the environment.
OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) defines a hazardous chemical as ‘any chemical which can cause a physical or a health hazard.’
Chemicals exist either as solid, liquid or gas; no matter its nature of existence, hazardous chemicals will still be harmful to humans and the environment. These chemicals can be classified as toxic, harmful, corrosive, explosive, etc.
Some commonly used hazardous chemicals in the workplace are:
- Caustic substances
- Cleaning products such as toilet cleaners, disinfectants, mildew remover and chlorine bleach
- Heavy metals, including mercury, lead, cadmium, and aluminum
- Petroleum products
- Photocopier toner, etc.
These harmful chemicals can enters the body through three (3) major means – Ingestion through the mouth, Absorption through the skin and inhalation through the nose.
In one of my previous articles “How to use HAZCOM to manage hazardous chemicals“, hazardous chemical management was discussed using HAZCOM – Read Up!!.
HAZCOM is a set of processes and procedures that employers and importers must implement in the workplace to effectively communicate hazards associated with chemicals exposure.
In summary, all chemicals that has the potential to cause harm are examples of chemical hazards.
In order to ensure chemical safety in the workplace, information about the identities and hazards of chemicals must be available and understandable to workers. Employers with hazardous substances are legally obliged to include warning labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDS) with their products.
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