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Hazardous exposures

Hazardous exposures

Airborne contaminants

Workplace air can be contaminated by a range of airborne contaminants that are hazardous when breathed in.

Biological hazards

Lists a range of biological hazards, including bacterial and viral hazards and diseases from animals.

Carbon monoxide in breathing air during air compressor use

Compressed air can be used to supply clean breathing air to respiratory protective equipment used in industrial and manufacturing processes such as abrasive blasting and spray painting. There is an inherent risk however that the air supplied by compressors powered by internal combustion engines can be contaminated with harmful gases and substances, including carbon monoxide.


Some hazardous chemicals, called carcinogens, may cause cancer. Carcinogens can be found in a variety of industries including manufacturing, construction, scientific research and healthcare.

Hazardous dusts

All airborne dust is hazardous to health. Dust can contain a range of materials including sand, dirt, pollen, minerals, wood, micro-organisms, and vehicle and industrial exhausts.

Heat stress

Causes and sources of heat stress, types of heat related illness, control measures.


Lead can be inhaled through dust or fumes or swallowed through eating contaminated food or smoking with contaminated fingers. Untreated lead poisoning in adults, children and pets can be fatal.


Nanotechnology is the controlling of matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Generally nanotechnology deals with structures of the size 100 nanometres or smaller.


Managing the risk of hearing loss from exposure to noise at work includes protecting workers from noise in excess of the noise exposure standard and providing audiometric testing for certain workers. Designers, manufacturers, importers and suppliers of noise emitting plant also have responsibilities.

Non-potable water

Non-potable water is water that has been used at least once and then supplied for reuse, either treated or untreated. Without appropriate treatment, recycled water may contain a range of contaminants.


Pesticides are hazardous chemicals that present a risk to health if precautions are not taken. Pesticides are a group of chemicals including herbicides, insecticides and fungicides.

Skin cancer and the sun

If you work outdoors in the sun, check how you can protect your skin from skin cancer.

Skin disorders and exposures

Skin exposure to substances at work can harm the skin and cause disease. Exposure can occur through contact with cleaning products, oils, paints, adhesives and foodstuffs. It can also happen when work activities generate contaminants such as welding fumes, wet cement and wood dust.

Sun safety at work

Tips to improve your safety in the sun and to keep your skin protected.

Last updated
27 April 2020

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