Depending on your industry and profession, you may expect to come in close contact with toxins. There are also times when employees are subjected to contact with toxins without knowing it.
If you find that there are toxins in your workplace, there are several steps you can take to reduce exposure:
- Find a new process: By replacing an existing process with one that is safer, you can reduce or eliminate contact with toxins.
- Isolation: Toxins should be isolated, such as through the use of machine guards or remote-controlled equipment.
- Ventilation: With toxic airborne substances, ventilation is one of the best methods of control. This can entail capturing and removing the toxin at the time of generation or mixing it with air.
- Safety equipment: For those who know they’ll be in contact with toxins, the right personal safety equipment is a must. This can include but is not limited to protective clothing, gloves, eyewear, mask and personal ventilator.
Along with the above, your employer should have operating practices in place to maintain a safe workplace. For example, it’s imperative to limit access to hazardous areas and to implement a preventive maintenance program.
If exposure to toxins results in an illness or occupational disease, work closely with your medical team to better understand your prognosis, treatment plan and how to avoid additional trouble in the future.
Should your illness keep you out of work for an extended period, determine if you’re eligible to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. The money you receive can give you financial peace of mind as you recover.