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The dangers of working with chemicals without proper safety equipment


Working with chemicals poses numerous short- and long-term health and safety hazards. These include organ damage and cancer, respiratory, skin, and eye irritation, as well as a potential explosion, fire, and smoke-related injuries. The chemicals are apparent and are exposed to people when they inhale fumes, dust, fumes, or gases. Skin absorption can also be a significant source of exposure. In addition, ingestion is also a possible source of direction.

Chemical hazards include skin irritants, carcinogens, and respiratory sensitizers. Some sources are vehicle exhaust, cigarette smoke, paint and paint removers, batteries, degreasers, pesticides, and some building materials.

Symptoms may be immediate, or it may take decades for health effects to become apparent.


Short-term symptoms

  • Chemical exposure

  • Potential immediate symptom

  • Respiratory effects include headache, nose and throat irritation, dizziness, and confusion.

  • Effects on the eyes burning, itching, and lacrimation.

  • Skin effects Dry skin, blistering, redness, rash, and itching


Symptoms of long-term exposure

On the other hand, long-term chemical exposure at low doses can damage the nervous and immune systems, impair reproductive function, and lead to cancer and organ-specific damage.

In the case of carcinogens such as asbestos, wood dust, and formaldehyde, cancer incidence increases at higher exposure levels.

In addition, many common ototoxic chemicals in paints, thinners, degreasers, adhesives, and engine exhaust can also damage the auditory nerve or inner ear. For example, it can cause hearing loss, tinnitus, deafness, and dizziness.


Protection of workers from chemical exposure

As with all workplace hazards, everyone can contribute to chemical safety using a hierarchy of control. First, it eliminates the risk, replaces it with a safer version, isolates it, and uses technical controls and administrative control. Then use chemically protected clothing (PPE) as your last line of defence.

Before applying control measures, perform a hazard and risk assessment, including a review of the Chemical Safety Data Sheet (SDS). In this regard, chemical suppliers, including distributors, dealers, and wholesalers, must provide a safety data sheet for hazardous chemicals.


Personal protective equipment (PPE) for chemicals

Although PPE should only be used as a last resort, it is frequently required when working with chemicals and is required in addition to higher-level control measures.

PPE for working with chemicals includes, but is not limited to, overalls, aprons, boots, gloves, chemical-resistant goggles, face shields, and respirators.


Appropriate chemical safety PPE should be selected and used specifically for the hazardous chemicals in question. In addition, it must be the correct size and fit. Workers must maintain, wear, and use it correctly.

For example, when choosing suitable chemical-resistant gloves that offer the best protection against a particular chemical, be aware that some gloves may resist some substances but not others.

In addition, the effectiveness of PPE when working with chemicals or any other hazard depends on the correct use of it by workers. Dexterity and clear vision are essential, as is training in the proper selection and use of PPE.


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