The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work produces a series of
factsheets focusing on the communication of OSH information on dangerous
substances including biological agents. This is part of the theme for the
European Week for Safety and Health at Work 2003.
Dangerous substances are found in many workplaces. A recent survey found that
16 % of workers in Europe reported handling hazardous products and 22 % being
exposed to toxic vapours. Exposure to dangerous substances can occur anywhere
at work, on farms, in hairdressers’ shops, in motor-vehicle repair shops, at
Dangerous substances can cause many different types of harm. Some cause cancer,
others can affect the ability to reproduce or cause birth defects. Other
substances may cause brain damage, harm to the nervous system, asthma, and skin
problems. The harm done by
dangerous substances can occur from a single short exposure or by the long-term
accumulation of substances in the body.
To protect workers' health from dangerous substances, employers are required to:
- assess the risks,
- take action to remove or reduce the risks, and
- monitor the effectiveness of the preventive measures and review the assessment.
AplusA-online.de - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work