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Thread: Hazardous chemicals in the workplace

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    Default Hazardous chemicals in the workplace

    I have an acquired lung complaint from long term exposure to photographic chemicals. Originally called occupational asthma it comes under other headings such as restrictive airways disease these days.
    The contents of these chemicals are horrendous including ascetic acid and glualdehide (sic) a know irritant. Lots of different ones included affect the respiratory, central nervous and digestive systems.
    National health in UK compensation is available but in Oz no such luck. The treatment usually involves cortico-steroids and bronchodilators. (side effect of the steroids is early onset of cataracts which happened to me.)
    I retired early as the constant exposure even 10yrs ago was making things worse. Fortunately since then my lung function is better( denial works for me I guess).
    The original doctor who diagnosed me in mid 90's gave me 15yrs. I went back recently for a check up 20yrs later and he was surprised to see me let alone being in a far better state of health than when he last saw me. He asked me for my secret.
    Fortunately these days with everything going digital there is no longer need for wet film processing, I am literally one of the last ones standing from my training year , the rest have passed on.
    People who work in smelters, hairdressers anyone exposed to a range of chemicals in the workplace can be prone to this disease. I can't go into those automotive shops as the smell from the chemicals in the rubber affects me. At least the young ones these days are relatively safe from this .

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    Default Re: Hazardous chemicals in the workplace

    Victoria, I am sorry to hear of your condition, though it sounds as if you may have it under control.

    So many industries created similar hazards for the workers, though not known about till many years later.
    Mate of mine had been a paint sprayer in the automotive industry back in the 60's and suffered for it later in life.
    Coal miners, and miners in other industries such as iron also suffer from Silicosis and other diseases.

    Thankfully now the medical profession had come to understand the dangers and protective measures are now being taken.
    Happy daze John in Oz.

    Life is too short to blend in.

    John Strange R737787
    World Traveller

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    Default Re: Hazardous chemicals in the workplace

    I spent nigh on 20 years chemical tankers carrying acids, waxes, ketones, styrene, even arsenic based stuff. Annual blood tests to check white platelets and if carried benzene for 3 consecutive voyages, further blood tests. Never suffered any I'll effects apart from the odd headache and actually quite got to like the smell of some of the chemical vapours. Styrene monomer vapour was great at clearing nasal passages if you were suffering from a head cold and silicone fluid also had a memorable and quite pleasant smell.
    Almost daily we would be in cargo tanks after tank washing doing inspections to check for cleanliness and odour as many cargoes we carried could be contaminated by odours from previous cargo. If odours remained after tank washing, venting and drying, we had a odour neutraliser product that by putting litarrly 5 drops of this liquid into a 500cbm tank would remove any remaining odours.
    Worst odours were those from crude oil, especially the light sweet crudes which ruined your sense of smell and taste.
    Mad tankermen? Possibly.
    Sorry to hear of your health problems Victoria, caused by breathing toxic vapours in enclosed spaces. At sea, even to this day, seamen are dying after entering enclosed spaces without checking first that the atmosphere in there is safe to enter.
    Rgds
    J.A.

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    Default Re: Hazardous chemicals in the workplace

    My husband worked in the coal mines in wales before going to sea. Being a mechanical fitter he had to go underground to fix things on site so was exposed to the dust etc.
    As you all know asbestos was widely used in lagging etc. When we lived in WA asbestos cement sheets were used to build domestic fences and other uses in the building trade. We used to saw off lengths to trim up the fence line, horrors.
    Up the coast children played in the tailings that was used in the backyards as a kind of lawn for want of a better word.
    It was well known the hazards with all this but the powers that be thought it best to keep it to themselves. Those children now are developing serious lung diseases.
    Chemicals are a trigger for me also laughing (which I do heaps off) and exercise( which I reluctantly indulge in to keep me fit). The specialist said he didn't want to discourage me doing the latter so I have to stay on the steroids for the rest of my life.
    I've always wondered why young people indulge in drug taking, if you wait long enough you get plenty from your GP.

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    Default Re: Hazardous chemicals in the workplace

    Quote Originally Posted by Victoria Moss View Post
    My husband worked in the coal mines in wales before going to sea. Being a mechanical fitter he had to go underground to fix things on site so was exposed to the dust etc.
    As you all know asbestos was widely used in lagging etc. When we lived in WA asbestos cement sheets were used to build domestic fences and other uses in the building trade. We used to saw off lengths to trim up the fence line, horrors.............................

    I've always wondered why young people indulge in drug taking, if you wait long enough you get plenty from your GP.
    The "authorities " have been aware of the hazards of asbestos since about 1914 and did nothing for decades. I never knew anything until early 80s, but on reflection was exposed to it on numerous occasions, asbestos gloves in engine rooms were standard, being showered in it whilst making astern maneouvres due to vibration etc. It is pot luck if you get away with it, a friend of mine died from asbestosis in his early 40s, he was a service engineer with Weirs pumps, and had to remove lagging on many to get access.

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    Default Re: Hazardous chemicals in the workplace

    Hi Victoria.
    Having been involved in getting rid of asbestos from the building industry in the 80s ; though I had known about it's dangers since 1966, a Scottish carpenter told me to always used a mask or handkerchief over my nose when cutting it, Around about 2000 a bloke I was in the Vindicatrix sea school; with contacted me from London to find out if he had a claim as he was dying from the rotten stuff I gave him advice about the lagging on the winches we used to crawl under to paint and all the stuff that used to drop on us, he got his claim, but unfortunately died shortly after, many a fortune was made on the backs of the workers without informing them of the dangers.
    Cheers Des

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    Default Re: Hazardous chemicals in the workplace

    I supervise the local 'Men's Shed' three mornings a week.
    We receive many donations in the form of tools, timber and other goods.
    But we will not accept any Craft Wood.
    A circular put out some time ago explained the dangers of the dust from cutting such wood.
    It is almost as bad as coal dust or Asbestos.
    Happy daze John in Oz.

    Life is too short to blend in.

    John Strange R737787
    World Traveller

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    Default Re: Hazardous chemicals in the workplace

    I often see workers spreading that tar road surface with the material fuming in their faces. No masks or other protective gear, so it seems we haven't progressed far since those days years ago.
    I used to have to break up the fixer ( came in solid blocks) with an ice pick with boiling water to make the liquid. No protective gear was supplied. The fumes were so bad you couldn't see in the confined space of the darkroom. All windows had to be opened to try and clear the air.
    I am probably lucky I am still around, if the chemicals didn't get you the radiation probably would. I worked with techs who had fingers missing because they were not supplied with lead gloves. Lead gowns were supplied but not the thyroid guards they have today.
    Those badges we wore only told us how much we had absorbed did nothing in the form of protection. Those old portable machines were lethal, leaked radiation all over the place. If your badge came back black (unreadable) you were just stuck back in the darkroom for a few weeks till they thought you had gained enough time to be exposed again in the meantime being exposed to the darkroom chemicals!! Catch 22.
    I got out of portables by putting to my boss that as females only got 3/4 the male wage that extra 1/4 must be because the males were physically stronger therefore more suitable to pushing the heavy machines around the wards and theatre. I told him I would only participate in portable work when I got equal pay for equal work.
    At first he was shocked at my audacity, then after consideration simply said "OK". job done. cheers Vicki

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    Default Re: Hazardous chemicals in the workplace

    Roads.

    ROADS.jpg
    "Our veterans did not forget about us .... Let's not forget about them." From Michael Levesque

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    Default Re: Hazardous chemicals in the workplace

    Quote Originally Posted by happy daze john in oz View Post
    I supervise the local 'Men's Shed' three mornings a week.
    We receive many donations in the form of tools, timber and other goods.
    But we will not accept any Craft Wood.
    A circular put out some time ago explained the dangers of the dust from cutting such wood.
    It is almost as bad as coal dust or Asbestos.
    John what is craft wood?
    Are you talking about MDF (medium density fibreboard) which is very common these days. If so it is awful stuff to work with, dust is very fine so in my opinion hazardous. I will never use it for that and other reasons (e.g. has no moisture tolerance). It may contain formaldehyde based resins, as does chipboard but the dust is not so fine. There is a target in certain industries to minimise / eliminate formaldehyde release.

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