In chapter four of Process Technology Safety, Health, And Environment Third Edition it introduces us to the hazards associated with vapors, particulates, and toxic metals. It is important for us to understand these hazards in order to avoid a dangerous situation to prevent injury or death in the workplace. This chapter goes into detail about particulates, dust and gases, dust explosions. Along with also discussing flammable gasses, compressed gas cylinders, metallic substances, metallic compounds, and metals that are fire hazards.
A physical hazard associated with gases, vapors, particulates, and toxic metals is defined as a chemical that falls into the categories of compressed gas, explosive, flammable gas, oxidizer, pyrophoric, or unstable. Some gasses can restrict the supply of the oxygen to your body this is known as asphyxiation. Other gasses known as anesthetic gases cause a numbing effect and cause a loss of sensation and will cause unconsciousness. Affected workers will feel dizzy, a loss of coordination, and fall asleep because the nervous system of the body has been chemically depressed. Some toxic gasses can form systemic poisons which enter the bloodstream through the lungs and will make their way to specific organs and tissues. An example of a systemic poison and what it affects, arsine which attacks blood cells and liver and benzene which affects bone marrow.
A health hazard associated with gases, vapors, particulates, and toxic metals would be carcinogens, mutagens, teratogens, reproductive toxins, asphyxiation, anesthetic, etc. Substances that are known to be cancer causing are known as carcinogens. Mutagens are chemicals that change the genetic structure of a living cell. A substance that affects the development of a human fetus is a teratogen. A reproductive toxin is a chemical that prevents a person from having children. There are two types of asphyxiation, simple and chemical. Simple asphyxiation is when oxygen is removed by a chemical. For example if nitrogen gas was released into an enclosed area it would replace the oxygen in the room and cause loss of consciousness and death. Chemical asphyxiation is when a chemical blocks a person from using oxygen. An example would be carbon monoxide that can attach itself to the red blood cells in a person’s body and prevent the oxygen from being used even though it is available.
Airborne particulates are small liquid or solid particles that are spread throughout the air. These particulates are a hazard to process technicians working in the affected area. Chemical technicians are also exposed to dust and gases. There have been respiratory protection programs created to provide protection to the worker. There are two types of protection, air purifying and air supplying. Any kind of dust can be dangerous if a large quantity is inhaled into the lungs. Dust explosions are also a hazard process technician’s experience. A dust explosion occurs when a concentration of certain particles is ignited by a single spark. Some examples of particles that typically cause an explosion are coal dust, grain dust, and saw dust. Process technicians will also experience toxic metallic substances. Some toxic metallic substances are also systemic poisons such as lead, manganese, and mercury. Metallic compounds can also cause a safety hazard. Metallic compounds are substances that are created when two or more chemicals combine.
In conclusion there are a lot of different physical and chemical hazards in the shop caused by gases, vapors, particulates, and toxic metals. Knowing how to prevent being affected by these substances can help to prevent injury or even death in the work environment. Also knowing how to react if you are affected by these substances will help cut down the injury and deaths in the shop. In the end it is a good thing that we have gathered the information on these things to keep things running smoothly.