In America, everyone has the right to do their jobs safely and in the knowledge that their employer is looking out for their wellbeing.
Despite this, workplace injuries and fatalities have been rising steeply across the nation in recent years, throwing years of progress into reverse. One common cause of workplace injuries is hazardous materials.
These are substances that might be essential to work that is carried out on-site, but which can seriously harm personnel if handled incorrectly. Here’s what you need to know about hazardous materials and workplace safety.
What Are Hazardous Materials?
The term “hazardous materials” covers many different things, but mainly hazardous chemicals.
These are liquids, solids, and gases that might have an important industrial use, but which can cause bodily harm to those who come into contact with them. They could cause harm when inhaled, swallowed, or if they come into direct contact with the skin.
All hazardous materials will be officially classified as such, and there will be specific regulations and rules that dictate how to handle them.
Examples of Hazardous Materials
To give you a sense of what your hazardous materials training should cover, here are some of the most common hazardous materials you will find in the workplace:
- Carbon monoxide.
- Hydrochloric Acid.
- Sulfuric Acid.
These are just a handful of examples, ones that tend to be the most common culprit in workplace incidents involving hazardous materials. Any workplace chemical safety should take these materials into account.
Dangers of Hazardous Materials
The dangers that stem from hazardous materials come in many different forms. On the low-risk end of the spectrum, direct contact can cause irritation, rashes, or allergies.
Certain materials can cause chemical burns or even cause clothing to weld onto the skin. Some hazardous materials can cause lifelong damage to the brain, lungs, kidney, and heart.
And, of course, hazardous materials can and do cause workplace fatalities. This is why proper hazardous materials training is not just nice to have – it’s essential.
How to Reduce the Dangers
Knowledge is the best way to reduce the risks of hazardous material incidents in the workplace.
With the right training and certification, you can ensure that everyone in your business knows how to stay safe around hazardous materials. The most important thing is to select officially-authorized training that is tailored to the specific risks you face in your industry.
For example, those working in the travel and aviation sector should seriously consider IATA certification. This certifies that you and your company can safely handle and store hazardous materials for air transport.
Make sure to see which certifications exist for your industry, and don’t waste time signing up.
Stay Compliant in a Changing Business Landscape
Hazardous materials are an ever-present threat. In virtually every sector and industry, there will be some need to be in contact with them at some point.
While this does not change, the rules and regulations are forever changing. This is why it is essential to stay up to date with changing business rules so that you can stay compliant.
Consult our expert Business and Finance pages for the latest updates from the world of work, so that you don’t miss a beat.