Your home should be a clean, healthy and safe place for your family. It should not be a workplace hazard.
Yet, unfortunately, many homes in the U.S. are unsafe not because of routine home living risks, but because people are transporting hazards from work into their homes. Not a good idea!
Several years ago, the National Institute for Occupational Study and Health (NIOSH) conducted an extensive study to determine whether people were bringing their work hazards home. 28 countries and 36 states were included in this evaluation. The results demonstrated that some family members are being exposed to workplace hazards that are transported home.
Although not found as much today as in the past, the study identified asbestos as one of the substances taken home. Illnesses and some deaths have been reported as a result of this kind exposure by family members. Lead was also on the list. Lead poisoning can cause multiple illnesses, including a reduction in learning abilities and other cerebral skills.
Some cases of lead contamination have been linked to workplace contamination that has been brought home by a family member. Half of the reported cases involved worker's children, and we should note that children are most at risk of lead poisoning. How would you like to have to live with that for the rest of your life?
Mercury has also been reported as having come home with workers. Some cases have been linked with thermometer manufacturing, others have been linked with cottage industries such as home based gold extraction.
Fatal and non fatal cases of pesticide poisoning have also been reported. Many of the cases are older, but some more recent cases were also identified.
Pesticides are designed to kill and if they are not used properly, can causes terrible kinds of problems. Those in landscaping and agriculture businesses must be especially careful. Care includes not taking pesticides home on clothing worn during the work day.
Other metals and biological agents and industrial chemicals have also been linked to home poisoning cases.
In modern America, most workplaces provide protection so that work place injuries can be reduced. But family members are helpless. Therefore, workers must be especially careful so as to ensure that these harmful materials not be allowed to come home.
When possible, exposed clothing should be left home. Its best not to take clothing into your car or your home. If your company does not provide lockers, it might be time to ask for these facilities.
The same applies to exposed tools and equipment. And employees need to ensure that they have washed their hands carefully before returning home as well.
Some illness has been linked to workplace visits. If you are going to invite family members to work, make sure that they are as protected as are the workers.
All of these exposures can be eliminated. With safe practices family members can be permanently safeguarded from workplace hazards. After all, they call them "workplace" hazards for a reason.