In a previous article, we started looking at how our nose, skin/eyes and mouth can be affected by hazardous chemicals. A good illustration is to imagine walking by a candle shop and smelling the various scented candles on display. A small percentage of the population would immediately begin to experience breathing difficulties, asthma or other systems of toxicity. Others in the same area would experience a sense of wellbeing as the aroma drifted their way. Others would have no reaction at all.

Since we are all different it is important that we practice universal precautions to reduce the chance of that small percentage being harmed by what others might consider innocent vapors. The human eyeball is a very delicate organ that can be damaged immediately by certain corrosives that would not matter to other parts of the body. Burning, red eyes, tearing and other symptoms indicate the eye is trying to protect itself. As soon as possible, a worker should flush their eyes with clean water (or saline solution) to remove any contaminants. In most cases, contact lenses should not be worn.

Children tend to be the primary victims to ingesting liquids through the mouth. This can happen in the workplace if chemicals are left unguarded and a child gains access to them. Even minor amounts of a chemical can cause damage if ingested on a sandwich, drink or other item placed in the mouth. Food and beverages (especially open containers) should never be stored in the work area unless a specific area has been designated as the break room since no other place is available.

Contact with hazardous chemicals in the workplace can be minimized with a little thought to exposure risks. Please note the preceding is suggestive only since regulations will vary by government entity. It is highly recommended that reader consult with local SME (subject matter experts) on any safety related topic and use the preceding as a starting point. Go to for more information or use a search engine for local and state regulations. Your comments and questions are always welcome. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean…


Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678.314.2171 or