Neurotoxic chemicals: understand the risks to keep workers safe and healthy

The nervous system is a complex network of nerves and cells that
carry messages to and from the brain and spinal cord to various parts of the body.
Neurotoxic chemicals can facilitate, block or inhibit neurotransmission leading
to a change in the chemistry or structure of the nervous system. Many workers are
exposed to neurotoxic chemicals capable of affecting the central nervous system,
peripheral nerves and sensory organs. Strict monitoring and control of exposure
is essential, together with preventive measures, to keep workers and workplaces
safe and healthy.

To keep workers safe from the effects of neurotoxic substances, employers
should take preventive measures that can significantly reduce risks to workers.
- Assessing whether a neurotoxic substance is necessary in the workplace, or
whether it can be replaced by a less harmful substance.
- Evaluation of health and safety risks of all chemical compounds introduced
into the workplace.
- Engineering controls - e.g. ventilation systems, closed production facilities
- to keep exposures below permissible exposure limits.
- Administrative controls such as planning, training, employee rotation,
changes in production processes, product substitution and strict adherence to
all existing regulations.
- Personal protection equipment (PPE) when engineering controls are unavailable
to reduce workers' contact with neurotoxicants.
- Worker health surveillance, including regular medical examinations and role
reassignment in case of any signs and symptoms of neurotoxicant intoxication.

The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work offers plenty of practical
tools and guidance materials available on a campaign website.

More info

AplusA-online.de - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work