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Politeknik Negeri Sriwijaya | E n g l i s h 3


Hazardous materials are materials whose manufacture, processing,
transportation, storage and its use raises or liberate dust, mists, vapors, gases,
or radiation that can cause irritation, flammable, explosion, corrosion,
poisoned and other hazards in an amount that allows health problems for
people who deal directly with the material or led to damage to the goods .
Hazardous materials are easy to find in the industry. In the work
environment, many chemical substances are in use every day so that workers
exposed to the dangers of chemical ingredients. It was sometimes increased in
certain circumstances given the nature of the chemicals, such as flammable
and toxic. So that, it is clear that working with chemical substances
containing the risk of harm, both in process, storage, transportation,
distribution, and use. However, no matter how much danger these chemicals,
proper treatment will be able to reduce or eliminate the risk of harm.

1. What are very toxic materials?
2. What are the examples of the toxic materials?
3. How are very toxic materials hazardous to my health?
4. How do handle very toxic materials safely?

This papers aims to increase knowledge students about hazard materials,
especially toxic materials

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Politeknik Negeri Sriwijaya | E n g l i s h 3


Very toxic materials are substances that may cause significant harm or
even death to an individual if even very small amounts enter the body. These
materials may enter the body in different ways (called the route of exposure). The
most common route of exposure is through inhalation (breathing it into the lungs).
Other routes include skin contact where some materials can easily pass through
the skin and enter the body. Ingestion is another, less common, route of exposure
in the workplace. Ingestion often occurs accidentally through poor hygiene
practices (e.g. eating food or smoking a cigarette using contaminated hands).
Toxic Symbol

Toxic Very Toxic
There are a number of very toxic materials that may be used in
workplaces. Some examples include carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, chlorine
and sodium cyanide. Extreme care and caution must be used if there is potential
for any form of exposure to very toxic materials. The table below lists some
workplace materials that meet one or more of the criteria to be considered "very
toxic" as well as some potential health effects associated with that toxicity.

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Table 1. Some examples of the toxic materials
Chemical Names
Potential Health Effects/Symptoms Associated with
Toxicity of Very Toxic Material
May be fatal if inhaled, absorbed through the skin or
Gas is severely irritating to the eyes and upper
respiratory tract. May damage the lining of the nasal
cavity and the upper respiratory tract.
Causes lung injury-effects may be delayed.
Can cause cancer.
May cause genetic damage, based on animal
Irritating to eyes, skin and respiratory tract. May
cause lung injury. These effects may be delayed.
May cause severe allergic respiratory reaction.
May cause cancer.
May be fatal if inhaled, absorbed through the skin or
Vapour is irritating to eyes and respiratory tract.
High vapour concentrations may cause headache,
nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, incoordination and
confusion. More severe exposures can cause bluish
discolouration of the skin, collapse and death.
Causes severe skin and eye irritation.
Potential cancer hazard - causes cancer based on
animal information.
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Hydrogen sulfide
May be fatal if inhaled.
Gas may be severely irritating to the eyes and
respiratory tract.
Causes lung injury-effects may be delayed.
Inhalation of high concentrations may cause
respiratory paralysis, irregular heartbeat, collapse
and death.
Ethylene oxide
May be fatal if inhaled.
Irritating to the respiratory tract.
Central nervous system depressant. High
concentrations may cause headache, nausea,
dizziness, drowsiness, and incoordination.
Can cause cancer, based on human information.
May harm reproductive capability, based on animal
May cause inheritable genetic damage.

The degree of hazard associated with any toxic material is related to the
concentration of the substance, the route into the body and the amount absorbed
by the body (the dose). Individual susceptibility of the user also plays a role. Very
toxic materials are capable of causing serious and significant health effects in an
exposed individual, including death. With very toxic materials, only a very small
amount is required to enter the body for it to cause these adverse health effects.
Very toxic materials cause serious health effects by damaging critical body
systems. This damage is often irreversible. The health effects may occur
immediately or the effects may be delayed. Health effects that occur immediately
after a single exposure are called acute effects. In other cases, health effects occur
at some point after the exposure. This is called a chronic effect. A chronic effect
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Politeknik Negeri Sriwijaya | E n g l i s h 3

may occur hours, days, months or even years after exposure. Generally, acute
effects are caused by a single, relatively high exposure. Chronic effects tend to
occur over a longer period of time and involve lower exposures (e.g. exposure to a
smaller amount over time). Some very toxic materials can cause both acute and
chronic health effects.
It is important to remember that very toxic materials can
have other hazards associated with it. For example, a very toxic material may also
have properties that make it an oxidizer as well as a corrosive. Always read the
Material Safety Data Sheet and labels to be sure you understand what is in the
product and how to protect yourself. If you do not understand or if you are not
sure, check with your supervisor.

Protective Equipment to Avoid Toxic
Control measures such as ventilation, enclosure and work practices are
examples of the preferred methods of protecting workers. If these measures are
not feasible or unable to provide appropriate worker protection, then personal
protective equipment may be required.
Choosing the right PPE for a particular job is essential. MSDSs should
provide general guidance. Also obtain help from a qualified professional who
knows how to evaluate the hazards of a specific job, especially those related to
very toxic materials, and how to select the proper PPE.
Before a very toxic material is brought into the building and used:
The appropriate PPE should be selected and be available.
Workers should know where the PPE is and be trained to use it for
emergencies as well as for normal operations.
It is important to understand the limits of PPE, not just its capabilities.
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The Personal Protective Equipment Section of OSH Answers has several
question-and-answer documents on PPE programs including the selection, use and
maintenance of various kinds of PPE. It is crucial that any required PPE be worn
when specified for a job. PPE can be very effective but not if you don't wear it.
1) Avoiding Skin Contact with Very Toxic Materials
Some very toxic materials can be harmful through skin contact. In these
instances, it may be necessary to wear protective equipment such as gloves,
aprons, boots, hoods or other clothing, depending on the risk of skin contact.
Choose clothing made of materials that resist permeation, penetration or
damage by the chemical. The Chemical Protective Clothing OSH Answers has
general information on selecting gloves and other chemical protective
clothing. The MSDS should recommend appropriate materials. If it does not,
contact the chemical supplier for specific information.
2) Protecting The Eyes and Face from Very Toxic Materials
Eye protection is important when working with very toxic materials. Selection
of the most appropriate type depends on factors such as how the material is
used, physical characteristics (e.g. fine powder, liquid, vapour, etc.) and
potential health effects (e.g. eye irritant, skin irritant, toxicity through skin
absorption, etc.). In some cases, it may be necessary to wear a face shield
(with safety glasses or goggles) to protect the face from splashes. The Safety
Glasses OSH Answers has information on selecting PPE for protecting the
eyes and face. The current CSA Standard Z94.3 "Industrial Eye and Face
Protectors," provides additional advice on selection and use of eye and face

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3) Avoid Breathing Very Toxic Dusts, Mists or Vapours
Proper selection and fitting of respiratory protection can be quite complex and
any time it is used in a workplace, it must be carefully monitored and
controlled to ensure worker safety.
If respiratory protection is required in the workplace, a respiratory
protection program must be developed, written and maintained as described in
the Respirator Selection OSH Answers. Further guidance for developing a
program can be found in the current CSA Standard Z94.4 "Selection, Care, and
Use of Respirators." Follow all legal requirements for respirator use and
approvals. These may vary between jurisdictions in Canada.
Careful selection of the appropriate respirator style and cartridges is an
important component of any respiratory protection program. Respiratory
equipment must be properly sized and the user must know how to fit-test, clean,
maintain and store the equipment. Users must also know how often to change the
cartridges. NEVER assume that "smelling" the very toxic material will indicate
when to change the cartridge.

Handle The Materials Safely
Safe handling and work procedures are crucial for workplaces where
individuals use very toxic materials. It is vital that people working with hazardous
materials such as very toxics are properly trained regarding the potential hazards.
Remember, if, at any time an individual is unsure or has questions about working
with a very toxic material, they should always talk with the supervisor.
This section refers to general safe handling practices for very toxic
materials. Instructions and training for the specific handling of a particular very
toxic material used a workplace is the responsibility of the supervisor (employer).
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In general, when handling very toxic materials:
Before handling, it is extremely important that engineering controls are
operating properly and that required protective equipment requirements and
personal hygiene measures are being followed.
Consider using a closed handling system for processes involving a very
toxic material. If a closed handling system is not possible, use the smallest
possible amounts in a well-ventilated area separate from the storage area.
Prevent the release of very toxic vapours, dusts, mists or gases into the
workplace air.
Maintenance and emergency personnel need to be advised of potential
Immediately report any leaks, spills or failures of the engineering controls.
Wear appropriate personal protective equipment to avoid exposure (eye,
respiratory or skin) or contact with contaminated equipment/surfaces.
Never work alone with very toxic materials. Another person must be in view
at all times and must be equipped and trained to rescue. Alternatively,
precautions such as regular visual checks made by another person or a
telephone call-in procedure should be set up to ensure the continued safety
of lone workers or workers in remote locations.
Be alert to the typical symptoms of poisoning and first aid procedures.
Report any signs of illness or overexposure immediately to the supervisor.
Depending on the material, medical attention for an exposure may be
required even if the exposure did not seem excessive. With some materials,
symptoms of a severe exposure can be delayed.
Do not return contaminated or unused material to the original container.
Ensure containers are clearly labeled and inspect containers for leaks or
damage before handling.
Keep containers tightly closed when not in use.
To prevent spillage, use proper tools to open containers and to transfer
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Pour very toxic liquids carefully from the container to avoid splashing and
Maintain good housekeeping (e.g. clean surfaces, no accumulation of dust).
Avoid any welding, cutting, soldering or other hot work on an empty
container or piping until all very toxic liquid and vapours have been cleared.
For large-scale storage of this material consider the installation of a leak
detection system with an alarm.
Ensure suitable emergency equipment for fires, spills and leaks are readily
In the event of a spill or leak of a very toxic material, evacuate the work
Ensure emergency eyewash/shower stations are readily available and are
tested regularly.

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Politeknik Negeri Sriwijaya | E n g l i s h 3