Industrial environments carry the inherent risks of workplace injuries. Although many industrial organizations focus on eliminating or reducing hazards that can cause trips, falls, and injuries due to machinery, often overlooked is the reduction of hazardous substances exposure.
Prolonged exposure to hazardous substances can lead to long-term health effects. Even short-term exposure to some substances can have significant and even fatal results. The degree of damage depends on the level of exposure including the concentration of the hazardous substance and the duration of exposure. Hazardous substances exposure can occur through inhalation, ingestion, contact with skin and/or eyes, or absorption through open wound.
It is ideal to focus on the reduction of hazardous substances exposure; this would take the tact of elimination or substitution of the hazardous substance. However, particularly in industrial environments, that may not be realistic.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is designed to safeguard workers health. It provides a protective barrier between the worker and the chemical. It is crucial to select the appropriate PPE for the hazards the worker is being exposed to. PPE is rated for different types and level of hazardous material exposure.