Work Matters: Step 2 - Find Out About the Health Effects of the Chemicals You May Be Exposed To
Once you have identified a list of chemicals that you may be exposed to at work it is important to understand how each can affect your health. This will help you identify the specific chemicals that pose the greatest threat to your health and pregnancy.
MSDSs contain information on the health-hazards of the chemical or product. Carefully review this information; however, be aware that sometimes this information is not accurate or complete. MSDSs may also have technical language that is hard to understand. Don’t be afraid to ask for more information or for help from your employer or health care provider. Your employer is required to provide training on the health hazards of chemicals.
If you live in California, as a first step, ask for your employer’s “Injury and Illness Prevention Program” (IIPP), which is required at each worksite in California. Read the plan, especially the section listing specific hazards at your workplace and the steps being taken to reduce exposures. Ask your employer about the process for “worker participation” in the plan. Follow the procedures in the plan for raising questions with your employer, supervisor, company doctor, or company health and safety officer.
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