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Understanding hazard pictograms may prevent serious injury

On Behalf of | Aug 12, 2021 | Firm News

Your workplace may provide you with a good income for your family, but the downside is that you work near hazardous substances. With the right education and safety procedures, you will likely avoid toxic exposure that could cause health problems or even death. A basic way to know dangerous chemicals are nearby is through pictograms.

OSHA has adopted a series of symbols for workplaces to denote certain dangers posed by hazardous substances. When you see one of these pictograms, you know to proceed with caution and use whatever safety methods are applicable to your situation.

Health hazards

The symbol of a human torso with a white six-point shape on top cautions that a substance is present that could cause long-term damage to your organs. You may contract a respiratory problem or experience harm to your reproductive system. The substance may also be carcinogenic and cause you to develop cancer.

Immediate hazards

Some chemicals can cause you immediate problems. The exclamation point pictogram tells you to be aware of a substance that may be a skin, eye or respiratory irritant. The skull and crossbones symbol warns of poisons or acids that could cause immediate and possibly fatal harm if you make contact with them.

Flames and explosions

Some substances are flammable. The flame symbol warns you that you may encounter a substance that could ignite upon exposure to air or water. The agent may also generate flammable gas. The flame over circle symbol indicates an oxidizer, which may cause a fire to erupt or make an existing flame worse. The exploding bomb pictogram warns that you may encounter a substance that is very unstable.

Warnings are essential

These are just a few examples of pictograms your workplace may use. In the event your employer fails to erect the necessary danger symbols and use safety measures to protect workers, you might have a case for damages if you suffer serious health problems as a result of toxic exposure.