Hesperian Health Guides

Do Not Bring Work Hazards Home

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HealthWiki > A Community Guide to Environmental Health > Chapter 17: A Healthy Home > Do Not Bring Work Hazards Home

A child reaches toward a locked cupboard labelled "work supplies."
Keeping toxic work materials in a locked cupboard will help keep children safe.

People who use toxic materials in their jobs in farm labor, mining, health care, and factory work often bring toxics home on their clothes and bodies. This can harm the workers and everyone in their homes. (To avoid these risks, see How to Reduce Harm from Pesticide Use; Preventing and Reducing Harm From Toxics; and Mining and Health.)

Many health problems are caused by jobs done at home with toxic materials and dangerous machinery, such as assembling electronics or textiles, or taking apart batteries or computers. Doing these kinds of work in the home is especially dangerous because companies usually do not provide people who work at home with protective equipment. Nor do they pay fair wages or other rights that all workers deserve. This dangerous work also exposes other family members, especially children, to toxic materials.

When working at home with dangerous materials, take precautions.

  • Know what chemicals you are using and how to handle them safely.
  • Make sure there is proper ventilation.
  • Use protective equipment if you can get it.
  • Keep children away from work areas and materials.
  • Try not to work long hours that make you tired, and make the work more dangerous.
  • Talk to other people who do similar work, and organize to demand your rights to health and safety.