SLP: Chemical Safety Essay


Exposure to toxic chemicals and second hand smoke is dangerous to health and should be avoided in order to evade the risks associated with it. The health effects of hazardous chemicals are often not clear than the physical hazards thus we should always try to avoid these toxic chemicals. This paper focuses on the potential sources of chemical exposure in the work place, health effects and mitigation measures as well as the effects of second-hand smoke and its prevention measures.

Chemical compounds and solvents

There are certain chemical substances used in the manufacturing of computer microchip processors which can cause health problems to the workers if their exposure is not well controlled. Some of the chemical substances which pose a risk to the workers include cyanides, fluorides and manganese compounds. These substances are often present in the form solvents in the work place.

Routes of exposures

Chemical substances may come into contact with the workers through a number of ways. These chemicals can enter the body through inhalation, absorption through the skin and eye contact or even ingestion.

Health effects from exposure to chemicals

Health effects from exposure to chemicals can be classified as either short term or long term depending on the degree of exposure. Short-term effects of acute exposure to solvents include irritation to the eyes and respiratory tract. Chemical contact with eyes can be very dangerous, resulting in painful injury or loss of eyesight. It is difficult to establish the long-term effect associated with exposure to lower doses. However, they include various types of cancers.

Symptoms which are associated with over exposure to chemicals may include increased mucus production, headaches, and nose, eye and throat irritation. Narcotic effects may include confusion, drowsiness, dizziness or collapse (Flint, 2004).
Prevention measures against chemical exposure

To prevent dangerous exposure to chemicals, there are certain measures which should be put into considerations in the workplace. To minimize skin exposure workers should e advised to wear gloves and other protective clothing. This will make sure that their skin is not into contact with toxic chemicals. To reduce the risk of eye contacts, workers are supposed to wear safety goggles or a face shield.

Another device which is useful in the prevention of chemical exposure is the respirator. Respirator helps in prevention of inhaling toxic chemicals. They are specifically designed to protect the worker against airborne exposure to hazardous chemicals. There are different types of respirators each with a different purpose. Some of the respirators can filter out particulates, whereas others are geared more towards gas and vapors. Respirators with helmets or hoods protect the worker against eye irritation, whereas escape respirators are designed to purify air in an oxygen deficient or hazardous situation. To reduce the potential of exposure, volatile hazardous materials should be used in a good ventilated place or preferably a fume hood.

Elimination of risks to chemical exposure

There are certain ways to eliminate risks in any organization. To ensure that risk is eliminated or minimized the following should be done (Asante-Duah, 2002).

The workers should be provided with suitable equipment for any work with chemical agents

The design and organization of systems at work should be in such a way that they cannot pose risks to the workers.

Workers exposed or likely to be exposed to the risks should be reduced to a minimum.

Duration and intensity of exposure should be reduced to minimum

Appropriate hygiene measures should be put into place.

Suitable working procedures should be provided.

Second-hand smoke

Second-hand smoking comes from two sources. The first source involves the smoke that is exhaled by the smoker after puffing on a lit cigarette while the second source involves the smoke produced by a smoldering cigarette (quitsmoking, 2006). Second hand smoke contains poisonous chemical compounds. Exposure to second-hand smoke is a serious public health problem all over the world. The combined effects of cigarette smoke and other types of chemical exposures can be very harmful to the workers. Second-hand smoking can cause a number of diseases which include heart attack, bronchitis, asthma, cancer, weakness of and damage to blood vessels etc (Randa, 2010). this clearly shows that second-hand smoking should be prevented at all cost.

Measures to prevent second-hand smoking in an organization

To prevent second-hand smoking, there should provision of outdoor smoking areas which are not adjacent to the exits and high traffic areas. The organization should also prohibit smoking indoors or limiting smoking to rooms that have been specifically designed to prevent smoke from escaping to other rooms of the building. This practice is costly and best and efficient method to control second hand smoking is to prevent smoking completely by insisting that smoking restrictions be enforced in the work place.