Many people are exposed to a variety of substances at work (eg chemicals, fumes, dusts, fibres) which can, under some circumstances, have a harmful effect on their health.

These are called ‘hazardous substances’. If exposure to a hazardous substance is not properly controlled it may cause ill health in a number of ways.

The substance may cause harm by:

  • too much being taken into the body through breathing;
  • being absorbed through the skin;
  • being swallowed; or
  • acting directly on the body at the point of contact, eg the skin.

Some illnesses caused by exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace (occupational diseases) may not appear until a long time after the first exposure. Therefore, it is important to know in advance how to protect the health of people working with hazardous substances and also of other people who may be affected by the work being carried out.

The topic of hazardous substances is complex, but, GHS Health and Safety consultants can help your business navigate through this complexity, conduct site inspections, risk assessments, training for employees, supervisors and others working with hazardous substances, advise on PPE, recommend storage / segregation solutions for hazardous substances.