They’re Everywhere – The most common
substances used in your workplace may contain hazardous chemicals.
For the most part, those hazardous chemicals are found in minute
quantities. However, you should be aware of them and how to protect
yourself.Substances most likely to contain hazardous chemicals
- Paints and paint removers.
- Liquid correction fluid with a solvent base (most currently
used are water based).
- Cleaning fluid, including window-cleaning fluid.
- Cleaning products such as those used for typewriters or
- Photocopier toner, photo developing chemicals, toners, and
- Rubber cement and other glues.
Your manager/supervisor must maintain a list of any hazardous
materials in your workplace, along with their specific Material
Safety Data Sheets. These items are available for your
You will learn more about Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) and
other information sheets in the MSDS module.
What Are the Hazards?
Hazardous chemicals may be in some of the products used in our
homes or offices. Chemicals generally cause two kinds of hazards,
physical and health.
- Physical hazards – risks associated with a chemical or
chemicals acting on a facility. Examples include fire reactivity
and risk of explosion.
- Health hazards - risks associated with a chemical or chemicals
acting on humans. Examples include skin irritation, reactions to
toxins, and the effects of carcinogens.
Chemical Forms - Chemicals can take three possible
- Solids - toner powder, smoke, dusts, sawdust and fumes.
- Liquids - rubber cement, paint thinner, solvents, mists and
- Gases and vapors - smoke, ammonia gas, paint vapors, gasoline
vapors, carbon monoxide, natural gas and propane.