Use these notes to help you identify and assess hazards that might occur in your workplace.
Chemicals can affect the skin by contact or the body either through the digestive system or through the lungs if air is contaminated with chemicals, vapour, mist or dust. There can be an acute (immediate) effect, or a chronic (medium to long-term) effect from the accumulation of chemicals or substances in or on the body.
Excessive noise can disrupt concentration, interfere with communication, and result in loss of hearing. High impact noises are particularly damaging. Noise can also mask out signals, affecting communication or danger warnings.
Equipment such as radioactive gauging devices or the radioactive trace element used in analytical chemistry produce Ionising radiation. Non-ionising radiation covers infrared radiation (heat-producing processes), lasers, ultraviolet radiation (welding, sunlight), and microwaves (high-frequency welders, freeze drying).
These include the risk of injury from all forms of electrical energy.
Inadequate lighting levels are a potential safety hazard. A common problem area is the reaction time needed for the eyes to adjust from a brightly lit to a darker environment — such as a forklift driver coming indoors from bright sunlight. Temporary lighting is often inadequate.
This includes whole-body vibration — for example, truck drivers, people standing on vibrating platforms, and operators of mobile equipment — and also more localised vibration effects from such equipment as hand tools, chainsaws, and pneumatic hammers.
Extremes of cold or heat can cause problems such as tiredness, vulnerability to infections or reduced capacity to work.
These include insects, bacteria, fungi, plants, worms, animals and viruses. For example, poultry workers exposed to bird feathers and