The ways in which workers can be exposed to harmful substances
In our last article, we discussed the importance of determining the substances that may be at your place of work which may pose a risk to employees and gave some information that enabled the reader ways to find out what substances posed what level of risk. In this article we will discuss the different ways in which workers may be exposed to a hazardous substance.
Workers can be exposed to hazardous substances in a number of ways:
• By skin contact
• Contact with eyes
• Ingesting harmful substances
• Breathing in dust, vapour, mist, fumes or gas
• Through a skin puncture wound
All these reasons of exposure contain different levels of risk. That risk depends of course on the harmful substance that you are exposed to.
Skin contact is one of the most common ways you can come into contact with a harmful substance. Splashing of liquids, inadvertent direct contact and direct contact are three of the ways skin contact may happen. Workers should be aware that if a liquid spill happens at their place of work, they should deal with the spill by first making sure they are adequately protected by using personal protective equipment and then by using the correct spill containment devices, like booms, to prevent any further contamination.