How To Reduce Contamination Risks In The Workplace

11/10/2016
by Safety Mart

Every working environment comes with it’s own hazards and risks. Some environment are at a higher risk than others. For example, those who work in the construction industry are prone to the contamination of chemicals; nothing that purchasing respiratory protection can’t resolve. Construction sites and food industry settings are usually covered by a range of different laws, guidelines and regulations, that people must adhere as a way of keeping everyone on the grounds safe and free from any injuries, illnesses or diseases. Therefore, it is very critical that employees who work in these types of workplaces are up-to-date with the latest information provided by the governing agencies. They look out for the overall health of the employees and management that work in these facilities.

That being said, here’s some invaluable information that focuses on what a person should look for when they are working in the construction industry or dealing with responsibilities and duties in the food industry.

Construction Sites and Contamination

It is not uncommon for a worker, or their management, to discover that there’s a wide range of contaminants found on their sites. Because these contaminants can vary significantly from one site to another, everyone should make sure that they have the knowledge about the different contaminates if they wish to be free from harm. Here’s are some the more commonly known and identified contaminants listed below:

  • metals (e.g. lead)
  • fibres (e.g. asbestos, synthetic mineral fibres)
  • inorganic compounds (e.g. cyanide compounds)
  • pesticides
  • oils and tars
  • radioactive waste
  • explosive or asphyxiant gases (e.g. methane)
  • combustible substances (e.g. petrol)
  • other organic compounds (e.g. benzene, toluene, polychlorinated biphenyls)
  • putrescible or infectious materials (e.g. medical wastes)

Food Industry Contamination

When people enter the food industry, there are a wide range of things that one will need to learn. One of their most important topics involves the actual safety of the food that is being prepared and served to a diverse consumer audience. This is because there are at least 3 different types of food contamination sources that people may be exposed to, including chemical, physical and biological. All of which can make people very sick, even deathly ill if not dealt with speedily. Bearing this in mind, it is very essential that people who handle food in any setting are aware of these issues. As well as this, they need to be educated in what needs to be done to prevent them from affecting others around them.

Chemical Contamination and Airborne Contamination

There are a number of different ways foods can be contaminated by chemicals and some kind of airborne agent. Therefore, people will need to watch what kinds of chemicals or airborne agents that they come in contact with when the food that is prepared and served. One specific example of a food being contaminated by a chemical source, usually involves the use of cleaning products near the food in the processing area. This means that a cleaning product can easily contaminate the food that is prepared when it accidentally gets into the food process.

Physical Contamination

Physical contamination can be described as food that becomes contaminated by some type of foreign object. For instance, if an individual has been served a plate of food that was not being prepared in an appropriate environment, the consumer may find that the food has been contaminated by a number of different items such as fingernails, band-aids, and other items.

Biological Contamination

Biological contamination can involve food that has been contaminated by substances which have been produced by pests, rodents, microorganisms and even humans. From bacterial contamination and viral contamination, to parasite contamination that has been transferred via someone else’s saliva or body fluids, bacterial contamination can come from a variety of different sources.

Preventing Contamination in Construction and Food Areas

Though there are many different ways for people to be affected by contamination in both construction environments and food settings, everyone should take into consideration the fact that there are laws, rules and regulations that can help to minimize hazards and risks. If these regulations are followed closely, workers and consumers won’t unnecessarily be exposed to hazards that will affect their overall health. So, for those who are tasked with helping with the prevention, as well as educating their staff on how to protect themselves and others, here's a few tips and recommendations that can assist in these and other similar areas.

When people are working in an area that requires performing their jobs with or around chemicals that emits odors, it is important that they consider purchasing respiratory protection. Respiratory protection is not a luxury, but a necessity if people want to protect their lungs from damage. So, for those who need to ensure that they have the right kind of respiratory protection, they may want to make use of various kinds of respirators. Some come in the form of cartridges and filters.

In addition to making sure the person protects their respiratory system, it is also important that everyone is ensuring that everyone is kept clean around them. These actions will be beneficial to the worker, co-workers around them and consumers who enter these facilities. For instance, it is important for people to wash their hands properly and wear gloves when they are preparing foods for others. Also, the worker must avoid touching their nose, mouth and their hair. To prevent body fluids from contaminating others, cuts should always be covered by using waterproof dressings suitable for use in the food processing industry. Dirty areas that tend to breed bacteria in a kitchen area or on a construction site will need to be cleaned thoroughly using the best disinfectants possible.

Construction sites and the food industry are usually excellent places for people to work and earn a living. However, workers in both industries get too comfortable with performing their duties. This is why there are some essential safety and health guidelines that must be followed to minimise potential health risks. Fortunately, there is a lot of information online that have been provided by governmental agencies that identify various kinds of contamination risks in the workplace, along with the best ways to prevent them from occurring.