Exposure reduction is critical

Hazards

Occupational health hazards are essentially exposures to substances, energy or other phenomena that can cause short or long-term harm to people. The key is to identify their presence (by reviewing the work environment and practices), assess the potential for harm, then eliminate or control exposure to safe levels (and as low as reasonably achievable). Resources relate to common hazards and their identification, exposure assessment and control.

Physical

Commonly described as a factor within the environment that can harm the body without necessarily touching it, physical hazards here include noise, vibration, elevation and pressure.

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Mineral

Hazards related to exposure to raw and human-processed minerals or crystalline substances which can enter the body through inhalation, ingestion, and surface injection. Mineral hazards here include asbestos, silica, talc and fibreglass.

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Environmental

Environmental hazards include those beyond the control of the workplace and can be natural or human generated. Key examples include heat, sun, cold, smoke and air pollution.

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Energy

Energy hazards in the context of disease are those which subject the body to increased energy load which can have a negative affect on systems and metabolism. Key examples include radiation and electrical fields.

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Material

Material hazards refer to toxic mixtures bound together by a process of fabrication. Key examples are plastics, treated fabrics and nanomaterials.

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Particulate

Elements or mixtures whose health hazard is significantly related to their particle size, shape or other characteristics that affect vulnerability to entry and potential for harm. Key examples include diesel exhaust, ultra fine particles, and dust.

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Chemical

A broad category of substances whose composition can be toxic when ingested, inhaled or dissolved in the body, key examples include solvents and heavy metals.

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Allergens / Irritants

Allergens and irritants are a subset of chemicals that cause irritation, sensitization or allergy which can seriously impact an individual's ability to function as well as increase susceptibility to other hazards. This section includes resources on wet work, cleaning chemicals, preservatives and isocyanates.

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Biological

Biological hazards are organic substances that pose a threat to the health of humans and other living organisms. Biological hazards include pathogenic micro-organisms, viruses, and toxins (from biological sources).

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Natural

Natural hazards are a subset of biological hazards stemming from the natural environment, including spores, fungi, bio-active substances as well as wood dust. Natural hazards can also be considered to include biological vectors or transmitters of disease.

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Pharmaceutical

Pharmaceutical hazards are a subset of chemicals that are designed to have an effect on the body but can be toxic depending on exposure and dose. Examples include prescription medication, hazardous and/or illicit drugs and alcohol.

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Organizational

Hazards or stressors that cause stress (short-term effects) and strain (long-term effects) and can impact immunity and health. These are the hazards associated with workplace issues such as shiftwork, workload, and lack of control and/or respect.

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Legislation
Video
Fact Sheets
Education / Training
Research
Posters / Infographics
Publications
Presentation / Workshops
Tools / Apps
  • Noise Calculator
    Type: Tools / Apps
    Source: Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW)
  • StressAssess
    Type: Tools / Apps
    Source: Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW)
Physical
Mineral
Environmental
Energy
Material
  • Nanotechnology and Health
    Type: Education / Training
    Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) and Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW)
Particulate
Chemical
Allergens / Irritants
  • Isocyanates
    Type: Publications
    Source: Oasys and Occupational Asthma
Biological
Natural
Pharmaceutical
Organizational