Almost every workplace contains some form of hazardous chemical, and in most cases, there are many of them. Whilst some chemical hazards such as solvents or insecticides are easy to identify, others are found in common products such as cleaners, degreasers, disinfectants, and other seemingly innocuous items.
If you discover something that worries you, do your research and make sure you’re fully informed. Health and Safety is everyone’s job, so no matter who you are it pays to make sure you understand the chemicals in your workplace and how they could be making you sick.
Chemical Safety Starts With Simple Decisions
Reducing the amount of toxic and dangerous chemicals we use isn’t as hard as it might seem. It also doesn’t mean doing away with the products we rely on every day such as cleaners, degreasers, and solvents. New technology is producing safe alternatives to many harmful products. Many of these alternatives are actually cheaper and more effective.
So, you might ask why organisations still place people at risk every day when so many safer options are readily available. Well changing that all starts with some simple decisions:
First – Decide to be Informed: Many harmful chemicals in the workplace remain in use simply because no one knows the risks. Don’t assume anything; always read the SDS (safety data sheet), consult the label, and research the product online. Do this even if the product is marketed as safe or “green“.
Second – Eliminate: If you discover a harmful product ask yourself whether it is really necessary. If not dispose of it appropriately and don’t keep it in the workplace.
Third – Substitute: You may be surprised just how many toxic and dangerous products can be substituted with safe alternatives. If you must keep a chemical in the workplace, make sure it’s the safest one available.