Exposure to Toxic Materials at Work

Exposure to Toxic Materials at Work


Daily, workers across the united States are exposed to chemicals and dangerous toxins in the job. This article will discuss ways to identify toxins that are potentially dangerous in the work and what you should do if you discover the presence of these toxins.

How to Find out what Toxins Are Present

You have the right to work in a safe and healthy environment. If in your work environment there are chemicals and toxins present, the law requires your employer to provide you with information about these toxins. Frequently, information about these toxins is provided in what is known as “material safety data sheet material” (material safety data sheet, MSDS). A MSDS is designed to provide workers and emergency personnel proper procedures for handling or working with a particular substance. The MSDS includes information such as physical data, toxicity, health effects, first aid, reactivity, storage, disposal, protective equipment, and procedures in case of spills and leaks.

Your employer may have MSDS on specific chemicals or products that contain hazardous chemicals. For example, there may be an MSDS on toluene (a chemical substance) and also on rods to weld (a product that contains toluene). If your employer does not have a MSDS for that you examine, there are several web sites that can provide you with this information.

Another way to find out if there are toxic substances present in your workplace is to look for labels or warning notices. A substance or a chemical product usually will have a warning label on the container in which it was submitted. Similarly, your employer can post warning signs in areas with poor ventilation or where toxins.

See also:

  • Legal liability for exposure to toxic substances
  • Issue of compensation for workplace accidents

What You Should Do If There Are Toxins

There are several things you can do to prevent or reduce your exposure to toxins. The following is only a partial list of possibilities from the Centers for Control and Prevention of Diseases:

  • Replacement. The risk of injury or illness can be reduced by replacing a process, a material or an existing team for a similar, but less dangerous.
  • Isolation. The hazards are controlled by isolation, when you place a barrier or a limiter right between the hazard and the person who can be harmed. Examples include machine guards, electrical insulation, glove boxes, containment, acoustics and the equipment operated by remote control.
  • Ventilation. The control of a volatile substance that is potentially dangerous through ventilation can be achieved with one of two methods: diluting the concentration of the substance after mixing with unpolluted air or to capture and remove the substance from its source or point of origin.
  • Administrative Control. The operational practices can be modified to reduce the exposure of people to chemical hazards. These practices can consist in limited access to high risk areas, preventive maintenance programs to reduce the chance of occurrence of a leak of hazardous substances, or work schedules adjusted.
  • Personal protective equipment. The use of a personal respirator, a mask, or protective clothing can reduce exposure to toxins.

What You Can Do

To ensure your safety and the safety of your coworkers, be sure you know what are the toxins present in your place of work. Ask your employer for the MSDS, look for warning labels and, if you discover out toxins, take the necessary preventive measures to reduce or eliminate your exposure. If you believe that you have already been exposed to a toxin, you should seek medical attention immediately. Probably also need to contact an attorney to discuss your rights.

Employees have many rights in the workplace. If you have additional questions in their best interest may be to contact a lawyer specializing in civil crimes related to toxic substances, who will explain your options and protect your legal rights.

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