1. Hazard - This is a situation that poses some level of threat to health, life, property, or Environment.
2. LEV system - A sophisticated engineering system that is designed to minimize the Exposure of the employees to contaminants that is airborne in the place of work by capturing the emissions from the source and transporting it to a safer point of emission.
3. Risk - This is the possibility of something unpleasant to happen.
4. Occupational hazard - This is a substantial risk especially at work place.
Executive Summary 5
1.1 Introduction 6
2.0 Effects of chemical hazards 6
3.0 Factors affecting the risk of exposure 7
4.0 Chemical hazards in a wood workshop 8
5.0 The L.E.V system 10
5.1 Figure showing an LEV system 11
5.1.2 Performance criteria for the L.E.V system 12
5.2 Importance of the L.E.V system 13
6.0 Table showing common types of wood-work hazards and their health effects 14
6.1 Legislation regarding wood dusts and chemical solvents 15
6.2 Recommendations 15
Chemical hazards are a type of workplace hazard that results from exposure to chemicals. The exposure to chemicals at the place of work may lead to acute or chronic detrimental health effects. In most workplaces, individuals use or store chemicals in one way or another. If not adequately controlled chemicals can cause a wide array of health effects, including irritation, sensitization and also carcinogenicity. For these chemicals to cause health implications to those affected, they must enter or come into contact with ones body. There are three major routes through which a chemical can enter a persons body. First and foremost, it is through inhaling gasses, mists or dust that is usually in the air. Secondly, it is through the skin or contact with the eyes. These chemicals damage the skin or might be absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream. Thirdly, it is through ingestion. This might happen when the chemicals spill or settle on food, hands, cigarettes or even beverages. When these chemicals penetrate into the body, some move into the bloodstream and thus, reach internal organs or even the nervous system. If poorly controlled, chemical hazards can result to adverse health effects to the workers.
Chemical hazards take a variety of forms e.g. solids, liquids, dust, vapors, gasses, fibers, fumes, and mists. The manner in which the chemical hazard is in determines how it gets into ones body and the extent of harm it causes. Moreover, these hazards can change form depending on the surrounding environment. A good example is how liquid solvents evaporate and emit vapors that one can inhale. It is at times difficult to detect chemical hazards as they take forms that cannot be detected. Dust and hazes may or not be visible, contingent upon their mass and concentration. Additionally, fumes, vapors, and gasses are usually invisible.
2.0 Effects of chemical hazards
Effects of toxic chemical hazards may either be acute or chronic. Acute or short-term effects show up immediately or a short time after the exposure to the chemical. Acute effects are typically minor, like throat or nasal irritation. In general, acute effects happen right away. On the other hand, chronic or long-term effects take quite a longer time to show up, sometimes years. They are caused by regular exposure to a harmful chemical over an extended period long. The chronic effects resulting from a chemical hazard exposure are mostly permanent. However, some chemicals have proven to cause both short-term and long-term health effects.
Chemical toxic substances at the workplace can be evident if the employees experience symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, sneezing, coughing, sore throat, wheezing, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, stomach ache, diarrhea, among others. Also, the nervous system of the affected persons might be damaged thus leading to uneasiness, petulance, and lack of sleep, shocks, loss of balance or coordination. Also, the reproductive systems for both men and women might be damaged, resulting in low sperm count and irregularities in menstruation respectively.
3.0 Factors affecting the risk of exposure
At hand are numerous factors that influence an individuals risk to the exposure of chemical threats, at home or the workplace. Foremost, the level of toxicity of the chemical. This means that the more toxic a chemical is, the more it is likely to cause health implications even in very subtle quantities. Chemicals such as Asbestos and cyanide are termed highly toxic as a minuscule amount can cause health effects. Secondly, the route of exposure affects an individuals risk of health problems. Thirdly, the amount of the chemical that one is exposed affects the extent of the health effects. A good example Acetone, which is used both as an industrial solvent as well as a nail polish remover. The industrial worker is at a greater risk of health effects as the lady who uses it as a little nail polish remover. The duration a person is exposed to these chemical hazards also affects their risk. The longer the exposure results to greater dangers in regarding their health. Research has also shown that there are personal differences that may affect the extent of effects caused by the chemical hazards. These factors include genetics, body size, age, drinking, smoking, allergies, sensitivities and prior exposures to other toxic chemicals. For instance, Lead has more harmful effects on small children as compared to adults since it affects their developing nervous system and brain.
4.0 Chemical hazards in a wood workshop
In the setting of a workshop, where some of the processes involving the use of adhesives on fabrics and cutting wood, there is a massive production of vapor and dust. The woodwork process requires the use of solvent adhesives and results to production of wood dusts and vapor. Exposed workers who work in these zones are susceptible to all the ill effects, both acute and chronic. Woodwork produces wood chips and dust in the workshops atmosphere, exposing the workers to respiratory-related and skin ailments. Subsequently, the risk and likelihood of injury and poor performance will rise. These hazards might result to health implications to the workers and thus reduces performance at work. These adhesives might spill onto foods or beverages of the employees, and thus they get ingested. Similarly, the chemicals used might fall on their skin causing irritation or corrosion. Measures, must, therefore, be put in place by the management to ensure that the chemicals being used are well controlled, to avoid any risks of exposure. Having identified the chemical hazard in the workshop, various hazard controls can be applied to reduce its effects on the workers. Not all controls are equally effective, and therefore there should be a hierarchy. A combination of several methods is, however, most suitable for controlling the hazards. Most importantly, the best way to protect the workers from the chemical adhesives and other related hazards at the workshop is to remove the hazards in the workplace. Such a procedure is called an engineering control. This method of hazard control will involve replacing the adhesives with other less harmful or completely safe chemical. By doing this, the workers will not have to wear special protective gear because the hazard is gone. The management can also isolate the processes in the workshop that use the adhesives. Likewise, isolation of the worker from these processes can be done.
5.0 The L.E.V system
The most appropriate measure to control the chemical hazards in the workshop would be to install local exhaust ventilation (LEV) system. LEV is a sophisticated engineering system that is designed to minimize the exposure of the employees to contaminants that are airborne in the place of work by capturing the emissions from the source and transporting it to a safer point of emission. For there to be effective control of the airborne hazards, the administration at the workshop should work in close collaboration with designers, suppliers, installers and all the workers. The suppliers must provide LEV that serves its purpose appropriately in the workshop. Besides, all the employees in the seminar must be competent in the use of the LEV system. The main components of the LEV are a hood, ducting (for transporting the contaminants), air cleaner, air mover and lastly, a discharge (exhaust).When putting the LEV into use, the employer must assess the hazards to be controlled and ensure the following: the LEV system is fit for purpose; it is used in the right way by the employees; there is a regular maintenance of the system. The significant records are kept to demonstrate the system is functional and consistent.
Adverse health effects can occur in the workshop, especially when the workers are exposed to occupational hazards such as dust and vapors. The employees can contract occupational illnesses and diseases and develop these they breathe in too much dust at work. These airborne contaminants are present mostly because control measures are not in place or do not function appropriately.
5.1 Figure showing an LEV system Duct Discharge
5.1.2 Performance criteria for the L.E.V system
When installing the LEV system in the workshop, the management should follow these steps: Identity and assess the hazards to be controlled (dust and vapor). They should then identify qualified contractors to install the system. The installer should then be provided with precise specifications and requirements that should be met. They should then review and ensure that the design and its specifications are satisfactory. All the relevant records should be obtained and filed. After the installation of the system, the employer should ensure that it meets the design specifications. The LEV system should then be maintained, and its performance measured regularly. Inanition, the staff should be trained on the proper use of the LEV. Most employers and employees overestimate the effectiveness of the different types of LEV and thus have a poor understanding of how the system functions. A good design and being effective are the vital considerations that should be made to ensure the LEV system works effectively. Whenever changes need to be made, the overall design of the system should be considered so that it remains efficient.
The LEV unit at the workshop should have the following characteristics: Leak proof; leakage on the suction part will result in inefficient extraction and leakage of dust at the workshop. Furthermore, the flow rate of air through the system must be enough to capture the dust to the purifying system. Also, the ducting system needs to be structured so as to avoid eddy currents and inefficient flow. Correspondingly, the construction materials of the LEV system need to be compatible with the contaminants being released in the workshop. The degree of containment around the point of dust emission is very crucial. Th...
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