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Safety at Workplace

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Chemical Risks

 

To protect the workers from injury, the inspection, control and handling of chemicals must be on-going. The workers should be given knowledge of the risks of chemicals in the workplace.

Every day we are exposed to different types of chemicals in the home and at work. There are estimated to be approximately two million chemicals compounds. Only a small number of these have been tested thoroughly regarding their dangerous properties. Therefore, chemicals should be treated with greatest care.

A chemical can cause injuries in several ways by inhalation (breathing in), absorption (skin contact), ingestion (swallowing).

To purify the dangerous substances, our body has a considerable capacity. The primary organs which are doing this are the liver and kidneys, but if the body is exposed to a chemical over a long period of time our defences can no longer render it harmless. The substance is then stored in the body and can cause various medical problems. Lead and cadmium are some common examples. It takes a long time for the body to break down lead and, in the case of cadmium, there is no breakdown at all.

Acute - chronic condition

There is a lot difference between acute, short-term and chronic, long-term conditions.

An acute condition is often discovered quickly and has short-term effects. For acute condition, the common symptoms are dizziness, headaches, vomiting. Solvents are typical substances which can produce these acute effects. Because, they act rapidly on the body and for the most part produce effects which are of a passing nature. Solvents can, however, have both acute and chronic effects on the nervous system.

The exposure to dangerous substances over a long period of time causes chronic conditions. An example of this is Asbestosis, a lung disease.

Both these (acute and chronic) conditions can result in permanent injury. The injury can be only temporary if steps are taken to ensure that the person does not come into contact with the substance again. The extent of the injury depends on dangerous health characteristics of that substance.

 


 
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