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Common Hazardous Materials in the Workplace

Work Safety and Hazardous Materials

People who work in industrial settings are more likely to be exposed to hazardous materials and chemicals than other occupations. While laws under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are put in place to protect employees from getting sick or injured from hazardous materials and chemicals, exposure risks can be high.

A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) between 1999 and 2008 identified these chemicals as the top five that caused injuries in the workplace. Here are some statistics and other findings you need to know:

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas that can cause sudden illness or death. The top cause of carbon monoxide release in the workplace was equipment failure. Over the course of nearly a decade, 2,364 injuries were reported.

Industries/locations with the highest percentage of injured persons (16%).

  • Salons
  • Auto repair
  • Religious organizations
  • Private residences

Industries/locations with the second-highest percentage of injured persons (15%).

  • Real estate
  • Rental
  • Leasing

Ammonia

Ammonia is a colorless gas. Exposure can cause irritation and severe burns to the skin, mouth, throat, lungs, and eyes. The top cause of Ammonia release in the workplace was equipment failure — 1,153 injuries were reported.

Industries with the highest percentage of injured persons( 39%), was the manufacturing of:

  • Food
  • Textile
  • Apparel

Industries/locations with the second-highest percentage (17%) of injured persons were the following subsectors of food manufacturing:

  • Agriculture
  • Forestry
  • Fishing
  • Hunting

Chlorine

Chlorine is a toxic gas. Exposure can cause nose, eye, and throat irritation, chest pain, coughing, and lung damage. The top cause of chlorine release in the workplace was human error. During this time period, 763 injuries were reported.

Industries with the highest percentage of injured persons (25%) were the manufacturing of:

  • Paper
  • Printing chemicals
  • Petroleum
  • Leather
  • Lumber
  • Stone

Industries/locations with the second-highest percentage (21%) of injured persons were

  • Arts
  • Entertainment
  • Recreation

Hydrochloric Acid

Hydrochloric acid is a clear and odorless substance. Exposure can cause harm to respiratory organs, eyes, and skin. The top cause of hydrochloric acid release was human error. A total of 326 injuries were reported.

Industries with the highest percentage of injured persons (18%).

  • Transportation
  • Warehousing
  • Educational services

The second-highest percentage of injured persons reported (14%) was educational services.

Sulfuric Acid

Sulfuric acid is an oily, clear, and colorless liquid. Exposure can cause chemical and thermal burns, as well as blindness. The top cause of sulfuric acid release was equipment error. A total of 318 injuries were reported.

Industries with the highest percentage of injured persons (16%) were:

  • Manufacturing of Metal
  • Electrical
  • Transport

The second-highest percentage of injured persons reported, (14%) were manufacturing of:

  • Paper
  • Printing
  • Chemicals
  • Petroleum
  • Leather
  • Lumber
  • Stone

Injured in a Work Accident? Contact Us Today

Big cases require big resources. Our Louisville attorneys will protect your rights and handle the tactics that large insurance companies use to deny claims. We have a track record of securing results in complex cases. We’ll defend your right to receive the maximum compensation allowed under the law.

Contact Dolt, Thompson, Shepherd & Conway, PSC at (502) 242-8872 to learn how we may assist you.

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