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What Substances Are Hazardous to Health?

Written by Steve Hudgik

These COSHH standards are critical and had they been followed at the Kansas City construction site there would have been an entirely different outcome. They would have known what was inside the two trailers, they would have alerted workers to what was inside the trailers, they would have had trained employees who understood what they were working with. And they would have had fire safety awareness to prevent such a devastating accident.

There are two kinds of substances hazardous to health: Substances and substances with certain properties.

A substance is dangerous when it has one of the following properties: COSHH considers the following substances hazardous to health:

  • chemicals
  • products containing chemicals
  • fumes
  • dusts
  • vapors
  • mists
  • nanotechnology (manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale)
  • gases and asphyxiating gases and
  • biological agents (germs). If the packaging has any of the hazard symbols then it is classed as a hazardous substance.

COSHH views substances with the following properties as being hazardous to health. These include substances that are:

  • reactive
  • flammable
  • explosive
  • toxic
  • carcinogenic

Preventing accidents such as the Kansas City catastrophe is not easy. But having standards and carefully following those standards can change the outcome of the tragedy. A follow-up report on the accident indicates that placards and signage on the ammonium-filled trailers were not likely to be in place. It is these kinds of careless habits that lead to bigger, more costly, more deadly and longer-lasting tragic outcomes.

To learn more about how you can support workplace safety, call Graphic Products at 1-800-788-5572.

The information presented in this document was obtained from sources that we deem reliable; Graphic Products does not guarantee accuracy or completeness. Graphic Products, Inc. makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied. Users of this document should consult municipal, state, and federal code and/or verify all information with the appropriate regulatory agency.

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