Employee Mercury Exposures at a Recycling Facility

Prevention is always better than cure. Since mercury can’t be ignored and is present in the environment, you will need to think of ways to control the exposure level.

As a responsible individual, you should dispose all things containing mercury the right way and you must wear the complete uniform before entering the recycling facility.

In a recycling facility, mercury exposures are quite common. Before you decide to control employee mercury exposures, you need to know the different mercury types. Mercury can be the pure element, organic compounds, and the inorganic compounds. Health hazards can vary depending on the type of mercury that a person is exposed to. Elemental mercury can be easily inhaled or it can also enter the skin and finally reaching the blood stream. The organic compounds can enter the human body through the stomach, skin, and lungs. The inorganic compound is also the same with the organic compounds when it comes to body entry. You must be aware that mercury can irritate your skin. It is corrosive to the mucus membranes and the eyes as well.

Acute poisoning is possible when mercury is present in the air as vapor. Some of the common symptoms of mercury exposure are chest tightness, cough, upset stomach, and difficulty in breathing. If this leads to pneumonia, it can be deadly. When you’re able to swallow inorganic mercury, you will suffer from nausea, vomiting, kidney damage, and diarrhea. Mercury exposure also has chronic effects like gum problems, mental and mood changes, and worse, your nervous system can be affected wherein you will suffer from fine tremors in the hands, eyelids, and tongue. Some patients eventually lose their ability to balance and to walk.

Recycling facilities should therefore establish preventive measures so that their employees will not be exposed to mercury. Are you aware that mercury is already part of the modern life? You can find a lot of devices containing mercury. If you want to control mercury exposures in the workplace, you need to learn about the different way to carefully dispose spilled or used mercury. Find mercury free alternatives for the recycling facility. This can be hard at first since a lot of things found in the surroundings contain mercury. For instance, fluorescent lamps, some batteries, curling irons, doorbells, appliances, and many others contain mercury. Discover what alternatives you can use.

When a fluorescent lamp is broken, mercury will usually be released into the air and so you can be exposed to it. Make sure that you clean the broken fluorescent properly without using a broom or a vacuum cleaner. All your employees should wear the appropriate dress code. Every employee in the recycling facility should not be allowed to enter until all the required uniform is worn. Prevention is always better than cure so try to follow preventive measures.


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