10 Common Hazardous Chemicals in the Workplace

Posted On: February 14, 2018
10 Physically Hazardous Chemicals
Hazardous substances in the workplace include liquids, gases, chemicals, and fumes. If you are exposed to these harmful agents through inhalation, skin contact, or ingestion, it can lead to serious illnesses, which in time can prove fatal.

Exposure to these harmful agents through inhalation, skin contact, or ingestion can lead to serious illnesses which can prove fatal with time. Click To Tweet

Anyone who is exposed to these hazards is at risk. But workers who are exposed for longer durations are more likely to develop serious illnesses and experience harmful effects. To prevent exposure, organizations involved in industrial work need to put adequate safety measures in place. The following are 10 physically hazardous chemicals that can harm workers if they don’t have adequate protective gear:
  1. Hydrochloric Acid

Hydrochloric Acid (HCl) is a corrosive chemical that can damage the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes on contact. If it is inhaled for prolonged periods of time, it can lead to hoarseness, coughing, respiratory issues, chest pain, and in severe cases, pulmonary edema. HCl is also known as muriatic acid, which is common in households, and in many industries around the world.
  1. Hydrogen Chloride

Hydrogen chloride can burn the skin and eyes if it comes in contact. In severe cases, it can burn the skin clear off and result in blindness. Hydrogen Chloride is used in the hydro-chlorination of rubber, separation of cotton from wool, as well as in processing consumer electronics and even some of our food. It can be formulated and prepared in the lab.
  1. Nitric Acid

This acid can cause severe chemical burns on contact with skin, which can spread rapidly. Workers who inhale nitric acid fumes can damage their mucous membranes and suffer from delayed pulmonary edema. Prolonged exposure can also prove fatal. Nitric acid is used in many projects and is essential in creating other chemicals, such as oxalic acid and aqua regia. This chemical can be purchased from an accredited supplier.
  1. Sulfuric Acid

Sulfuric acid can burn the eyes and skin on contact. The fumes from the acid can lead to respiratory distress and cause a burning sensation in the eyes. Prolonged exposure can also lead to blindness. Battery oil, known as oil of vitriol, is sulfuric acid and may be obtained at some auto supply stores.
  1. Acetic Acid

Inhalation of acetic acid fumes can result in sore throat, headaches, dizziness, burning sensation, and respiratory distress. These effects can be delayed and increase in severity with prolonged exposure. This dissolving property and miscibility of acetic acid makes it a widely used industrial chemical, for example, as a solvent in the production of dimethyl terephthalate. Vinegar contains low concentration of acetic acid, while higher grade of this reagent can be purchased on selected stores.
  1. Propionic Acid

Inhaling propionic acid fumes can result in coughing, sore throat and shortness of breath which can lead to asthma. Propionic acid is often used in food preservatives and is usually found in sweat, milk products, and as a product of bacterial fermentation. It can also be synthetically prepared.
  1. Lithium Hydroxide

Lithium hydroxide is a corrosive chemical that can cause burning sensation in the eyes, coughing, wheezing, and other respiratory issues. Lithium hydroxide is mainly consumed for the production of batteries and general-purpose lubricating grease due to its high resistance to water and usefulness at both high and low temperatures.
  1. Sodium Hydroxide

This harmful chemical can cause ulcers in the nasal passage and irritate the eyes, lungs, and the throat. Prolonged exposure can lead to blindness and esophageal burns. Sodium hydroxide is a popular strong base used in industry. Sodium hydroxide or Lye can be ordered and purchased online or through a supplier.
  1. Ethylene Oxide

Exposure to ethylene oxide can result in headaches, nausea, sore throat, weakness, and vomiting. It can also cause dizziness which can lead to serious workplace accidents. This chemical reagent is used to manufacture other chemicals, to sterilize medical devices, and as a fumigant.
  1. Chromic Oxide

Skin contact with chromic oxide can lead to chemical burns if it is prolonged. It can irritate the eyes and trigger skin allergies such as redness, itching, and a rash that is similar to eczema. Chrome Oxide is often found in the mineral, escalate, which is found in chromium-rich tremolite skarns, metaquartzites, and chlorite veins. One of the popular applications of this chemical is serving a pigment for paints, inks, and glasses.

HAZWOPER Training from 360Training

The HAZWOPER 40-Hour course from 360training.com covers 40 hours and is based on OSHA’s Hazardous Waste and Emergency response standards. It is meant for general site workers who come in regular contact with hazardous waste and substances during removal or through other activities that expose them to its health hazards. The course includes more than 20 sections that cover workplace hazards which require workers to wear respirators and other personal protective gear. Generally, anyone who is exposed to harmful substances that are over PEL, or Permissible Exposure Levels, will benefit from completing the course. Once you complete the course, we will sent you a certificate of completion that OSHA recognizes as a document of training. The HAZWOPER training course covers:
  • OSHA regulations and how they apply to worker safety
  • Understanding site characterization
  • Toxicology principles and how different chemical exposures affect health
  • Hazardous chemicals that are present in the workplace
  • OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard and what is involved in it
  • Characteristics of different workforces
  • Protection factors
  • Different types of radiation and their harmful effects
  • The need for personal protective gear and how to choose appropriate gear
  • How to create a Medical Surveillance Program
  • Elements involved in site security
  • Different types of respiratory issues that can result from exposure to hazardous substances
  • Considerations involved in a medical emergency in the workplace pertaining to exposure to hazardous substances
  • Methods involved in air monitoring
  • Importance of training and safety in the workplace
  • Understanding permit systems pertaining to confined spaces
  • Determining space atmospheric hazards and ventilation requirements
  • Sign up for the course today and ensure your workers can work safely with harmful substances in the workplace.
Sign up for HAZWOPER training today and learn how to work safely with harmful substances.

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