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Know the chemical hazards you're exposed to at work

When you go to work in San Diego, it is important that you know what kinds of hazards are in your workplace. Being aware of those hazards is important, because you need to know what to do if you are exposed to them.

One of the greatest risks to employees is the risk of exposure to chemicals. Chemicals can range from toxic biohazards to cleaning solutions that you use each day. Here's a little more about them and what you need to know to stay safe.

Get to know the chemical hazards in your workplace

Chemical hazards can put you at risk. Start to protect yourself by understanding what these hazards are.

Some chemical hazards you may find in your workplace include:

  • Caustic substances
  • Pesticides
  • Petroleum products
  • Paint
  • Glues
  • Cleaning products, like bleach or disinfectants
  • Acids
  • Toner from photocopiers or printers
  • Solvents
  • Heavy metals, like lead or aluminum

How can you avoid chemical hazards in the workplace?

To keep yourself safe in the workplace, you need to know how to interact with chemical hazards without having those same hazards cause harm to you or others. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has developed the Hazard Communication Standard to assist in making sure people understand the chemicals in their workplace and know what measures they need to take to stay safe.

All hazards related to chemical products are supposed to be classified. Then, that information should be made available to employers and their employees. The HCS includes classifying and labeling containers as well as providing safety and data sheets, warning sheets and employee training to those around chemicals.

What should you do if you haven't been trained to handle hazards in the workplace?

If you have not received any training in how to handle chemicals or other hazardous items in your workplace, start by reaching out to your supervisor or employer. Your employer should have the safety sheets available for you to review. If they do not, they can order them or may be able to access them in other ways, so that you can obtain the information you need.

If you are harmed because you haven't been trained to use the chemicals in your workplace or haven't been taught safety procedures, then you may be in a position to file a workers' compensation claim and to report your employer for their negligence. All employees deserve to know what they're exposed to on the job.

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