Many materials or substances used or created during work processes could harm workers’ health. These substances could be dusts, gases or fumes that you breathe in, or liquids, gels or powders that come into contact with your eyes or skin.

Harmful substances can be present in anything from paints and cleaners to flour dust, solder fume, blood or waste. Ill health caused by these substances used at work is preventable.


According to Greek Legislation every employer must take appropriate measures to avoid or minimize the exposure of employees to hazardous agents. In any case, the exposure level must be lower than what has been defined by the Workplace Exposure Limit Values.

The basic steps to manage the risks are the following:

Identify the hazards

  • Identify which substances are harmful by referring to the product labels and safety data sheets (SDS)
  • Consider about harmful substances produced by the processes, such as cutting or grinding, or to which workers may be otherwise exposed

Decide who might be harmed and how

  • How might workers be exposed.
  • Identify the route into the body (whether the substance can be breathed in, get onto or through the skin or can even be swallowed) and the effects of exposure by each of these routes.
  • Consider how often people work with the substance and for how long
  • Think about anyone else who could be exposed (maintenance workers, contractors and other visitors or members of the public).
  • Consider people who could be exposed accidentally, eg while cleaning, or what happens if controls fail.
  • Identify exposure levels – conduct measurements, if required.

Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions

  • Carry a risk assessment.
  • Apply preventive and protective measures:
    • Enclose the process
    • Provide good ventilation
    • Use systems of work and handling procedures that minimize the chances of materials spilling, leaking or otherwise escaping.
    • Reduce the number of employees exposed, or the duration of their exposure.
    • Provide suitable training.
    • Use PPE.

Process Engineering may support efficiently your organization on setting an effective hazardous substances protection program by:

  • Identifying hazards occurring during working processes.
  • Creating hazardous substances logbook.
  • Reviewing hazardous materials Safety Data Sheets
  • Identifying worker exposure to hazardous substances.
  • Conducting measurements of hazardous substances.
  • Evaluating risks and develop an action plan to reduce them.

For more information, contact the technical department of Process Engineering.


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