Chemical Hazards and Toxic Substances in the Workplace

June 2018 Safety Topic

Lab tech with full-body suit while handling a clear chemical

Any chemical, in either gas, liquid, or solid form, that has the potential to cause harm is referred to as a “hazardous chemical” or “toxic substance.” According to OSHA, more than 30 million American workers are exposed to hazardous chemicals in their workplaces. While CUIMC Facilities Management has a responsibility to inform employees of significant chemical hazards, employees also have the duty to know about such dangers.

One way you can protect yourself from chemical hazards is by reading warning labels and safety data sheets (SDSs). SDSs provide comprehensive information about a substance or mixture that is used in the workplace. You should befamiliar with where your SDS binder is located within your work area.

Hazard Communication training helps employees to work safely with chemicals.

As an employee, you have the right to know:

  • The hazards that chemicals you work with present;
  • How to work safely with chemicals;
  • How to protect yourself.

You also have the duty to know:

  • Where hazardous chemicals are present;
  • The physical and health hazards of the chemicals in your work area;
  • How to protect yourself from those hazards;
  • Methods used to detect the presence or release of hazardous chemicals in ways that could be dangerous.

For more information or questions about chemical hazards and toxic substances in the workplace, please speak with your supervisor or contact a member of the Campus Life Safety and Regulatory Compliance team.

Photo Credit: Getty Images