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Aibu to suggest my work is poisoning me?

(49 Posts)
SongforSal Wed 22-Feb-17 16:29:19

Don't want to dripfeed. Took on a 'Temp' job a few months back which involves me using a toxic chemical continuously on a daily basis. I always wear gloves, and a coat, however it is inevitable that the chemical gets on my skin a few dozen times a day (I wash it off immediately.)

I am in general good health, however. Twice at work the room has span, resulting in me having to crouch on the floor with my head between my legs. I have had an unprecedented amount of 'waves' of nausea and headaches during the working day and generally feeling unwell.

I have just researched the chemical on the internet.....and it states that humans who regularly come into contact with the chemical experience the symptoms I have stated above, plus a plethora of other rather worrying side effects listed in long term exposure.

Obviously. I need another job! Aibu to speak to my boss. Of course this cant carry on, the other side is, as a 'temp' he will 100% get rid of me immediately if I do.....

Babybubblescomingsoon Wed 22-Feb-17 16:31:53

It's your health. You need to decide if you care about your health enough to speak to your boss and get something done about it. Staying there longer won't do you any good, in fact each day is just going to harm you more. It is a tricky situation OP but you have to think about yourself here flowers

Kiroro Wed 22-Feb-17 16:33:33

Sounds like you need to whistleblow as a massive H&S issue

SongforSal Wed 22-Feb-17 16:40:05

Thanks. I'm going to start looking for a new job ASAP. Am a bit pissed of I was only told it could cause irritation to my eyes. And also pissed off with myself for blindly using it without knowing/researching it's effects. My colleague is also experiencing some of the side effects, so this can't be unique!

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Wed 22-Feb-17 16:45:08

Ask for a copy of the risk assessment for the task and the safety data sheet for the chemical product. The PPE required for the task should be on the. Is there any smell from it? What is the chemical?

H&S Officer here (ex copper before anyone moans that I appear to have changed jobs)

MattMurdock Wed 22-Feb-17 16:45:55

For the safety of everyone involved you must speak to your boss and ensure that the situation is dealt with officially. The company is being reckless, if there are future problems the fact that this has been brought to their attention means they have no excuses.

reallyanotherone Wed 22-Feb-17 16:46:46

Agree with vivienne- there should be a risk assesment done on every chemical.

SteppingOnToes Wed 22-Feb-17 16:51:17

If you are using proper PPE how are you managing to get it on your hands several times a day? If that was happening in my place of work the person would be disciplined for improper use (lack of use) of PPE. Could you ask for training on how to the PPE so you don't keep contaminating yourself?

sparechange Wed 22-Feb-17 16:58:55

Why is it 'inevitable' that it gets onto your skin several times a day?

You need to flag this up immediately but it doesn't sound like you are handling it correctly, or wearing the PPE correctly

DJBaggySmalls Wed 22-Feb-17 17:04:01

Contact Health and Safety immediately.

www.hse.gov.uk/contact/contact.htm

Libitina Wed 22-Feb-17 17:04:03

Go and see your GP and tell them your concerns. It may just be coincidence, in which case they need to investigate the cause. It may be caused by your job, which will then need escalating. www.hse.gov.uk/contact/concerns.htm

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Wed 22-Feb-17 17:04:22

* If that was happening in my place of work the person would be disciplined for improper use (lack of use) of PPE*

My question from a H&S perspective is whether the correct PPE has been given. Perhaps gauntlets or arm covers would be more suited to the task. Alternatively it may be they in fact it's the wrong chemical for the job and could be switched for something less nasty under COSHH.

ApproachingATunnel Wed 22-Feb-17 17:04:51

It sound like you are inhaling stuff, i dont think a very short skin exposure would cause your symptoms so quickly (how long have you been there?) I would look for another job asap.

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Wed 22-Feb-17 17:06:18

Contact Health and Safety immediately

The HSE only regulates certain industries. The OP may or may not work in such an industry. If not, it's down to the local council or other regulatory bodies depending on the work.

OP, feel free to PM if you don't wish to put some details.

MajorSharpesButtons Wed 22-Feb-17 17:07:10

Why is it getting on your skin! ?
You may need different ppe. I've worked with contact carcinogenic compounds in the past and avoided contact

Crispbutty Wed 22-Feb-17 17:08:27

You should have had coshh training before using any chemical?

What is it that you are doing or using?

BestZebbie Wed 22-Feb-17 17:08:42

Yes, you need to speak to your boss, possibly along with the other person you say has symptoms.

Be prepared for them to say that you are at fault for getting it on yourself, though.

Dreamanddream Wed 22-Feb-17 17:08:54

Do they know you've been feeling like this? Have you told them?

If not, how can they know and act on it?

If they do know, then they need to be acting on it. Is there anyone you can report them to?

highinthesky Wed 22-Feb-17 17:09:01

Speak to your agency. They should know that you might be interested in other opportunities.

MichaelSheensNextDW Wed 22-Feb-17 17:09:19

What training have you had? What's the COSHH data? Are you working in a fume cupboard or ventilated room?

MichaelSheensNextDW Wed 22-Feb-17 17:12:23

Are there warning labels on the containers you use? Can you take some photos of the working conditions & equipment on your phone?

SongforSal Wed 22-Feb-17 17:17:30

Thank you everyone...some great advice. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the task, it does come into contact with skin (I can't really elaborate any further on that for contractual reasons.) I think the effects may be airborne, as I haven't any rashes ect. Will speak to someone tomorrow. No idea how that will go down, as I can't 'prove' that's what is wrong, although it seems likely. Long term exposure is a definite no-no though!

MichaelSheensNextDW Wed 22-Feb-17 17:20:02

Have a browse of this op www.hse.gov.uk/coshh/basics/datasheets.htm

GloGirl Wed 22-Feb-17 17:25:38

I would also Whistleblow - contact GP, HSE and ACAS to find out your next move. I'd do it as best as I could so that I'd stop them putting more temps through the same issues it sounds awful.

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Wed 22-Feb-17 17:36:27

A chemical which may irritate the eyes is likely to irritate all mucous membranes. It may well be an asthmagen or similarly irritate the lungs.

Are you issued with goggles? What about RPE? Is there any extraction equipment in place to remove fume?

Can you say what the chemical is? Happy to look it up and the PPE requirements for it.

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