What are chemical hazards?

A chemical hazard is a type of occupational hazard caused by exposure to chemicals in the workplace. Chemical hazards and toxic substances pose a wide range of health hazards such as irritation, sensitization and burns. In order to ensure chemical safety in the workplace, information about the identities and hazards of the chemicals must be available and understandable to workers.

Examples of  chemical hazards substances used at the workplace:

  • acidic and caustic substances
  • cleaning products such as toilet cleaners, disinfectants, mildew remover and chlorine bleach, corrosion remover (orthophosphoric acid), methyl alcohol
  • coolers (glycol) – used in AC systems
  • heavy metals, including mercury, lead, cadmium, and aluminium
  • paint
  • agriculture chemical substances such as pesticides, herbicides, fungicides
  • petroleum products and solvents
  • reactive chemicals
  • toxic and inert gases (chlorine, carbon oxide, carbon dioxide, methane)
  • explosive gases, such as hydrogen, oxygen,

In the PV Solar industry hazardous substances can be encountered in:

  • solvents and paints can be flammable, toxic and irritating substances – should be used with precautions, wearing protective clothes, the empty containers should be treated as hazardous waste
  • cleaning substances – can be flammable and toxic – for example, alcohol or ammonium-based cleaners
  • heavy metal-contaminated PV system parts   – some elements of the PV systems contain toxic metals, sometimes at the hazardous level. For example, batteries contain lead, lithium, etc. Solar panels can contain chromium, antimony, lead etc. Battery liquid is a highly poisonous substance which cannot be introduced to the environment at any circumstances – contains lead.
    PVC and plastics – can be very toxic when burning. PVC burning (for example wire coating, packaging) generates dioxins – highly carcinogenic substances accumulated for example in the cow’s milk
  • fuels – such as liquid gas, gasoline etc.

The table and presentation can be downloaded from here: https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/new-hazard-symbols-6361473 


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