Chemical injuries in the workplace

Chemical exposure can occur in many industries  However, the dangers can be limited by ensuring that the correct safety procedures are in place and are followed. Chemical injuries  can be hard to diagnose.

There are certain signs and symptoms you can look out for.


On the skin:

  • Burning, redness and irritation,
  • Numbness or severe pain,
  • Blistered or black, dead skin.

In the eyes:

  • Changes in vision quality.


  • Coughing,
  • Shortness of breath,
  • Vomiting,
  • Low blood pressure,
  • Dizziness or weakness,
  • Headaches,
  • Muscle spasms or seizures,
  • Irregular heartbeat.

Immediate action once a chemical injury has been identified

Remove yourself from the danger area, remove any items of clothing that may have been contaminated and, if the skin or eyes have been affected,  apply clean running water to the area.  Seek medical attention immediately.

Lasting effects

On first examination, you may not realise the extent of the damage the chemical has caused. In severe cases, the damage may be deep below  the surface.

The extent of a chemical injury can depend on:

  • The type of chemical exposed to,
  • The length of exposure,
  • The concentration of the chemical,
  • The area affected, such as eyes, skin or mucous membrane,
  • If the chemical was swallowed or inhaled,
  • If the skin has been visibly broken.

In many cases, chemical exposure is superficial. However, if you have suffered a severe reaction to chemical exposure, find out if you are entitled to make a chemical injury claim.

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