When working on improving workplace safety, you will undoubtedly see lists of hazardous substances that are listed as dangerous because they are corrosive. A corrosive substance is typically listed this way because it can corrode other materials, including metals. This makes many people wonder how corrosives are hazardous to human health.
To put it simply, corrosives are hazardous to human health because they can begin destroying cells and tissues immediately on contact. This means that if someone’s skin or eyes come into contact with a corrosive substance it can cause serious injuries right away. If this type of material is swallowed, it can cause serious damage to the mouth, throat, and stomach.
If your facility uses any type of corrosive material, you need to make sure that everyone in the area takes the proper precautions to stay safe. In many cases, this will mean requiring everyone to wear personal protection equipment whenever they are working with or around these types of substances. Just make sure that the PPE being used is not susceptible to corrosion itself. In many cases, plastics are the best option since they are generally not going to be corroded by most types of substances. There are some substances, however, that can go through some types of plastics so you need to be certain that the protection you are using will provide the safety you expect.
Of course, it is generally best to eliminate the use of corrosive materials whenever possible. Evaluate whether your facility could find a safer alternative to get the same results without the safety hazards associated with a given substance or material.