Health Hazard

Last Updated: August 7, 2018

Definition - What does Health Hazard mean?

A health hazard, within the context of occupational health and safety, refers to any chemical or substance for which there is adequate research or statistical evidence to suggest that it can trigger health effects in those who are exposed. These effects may be acute or chronic. Health hazards include a variety of chemicals that can be classified as carcinogens, toxic or highly toxic agents, reproductive toxins, irritants, corrosives, sensitizers, hepatotoxins, nephrotoxins, neurotoxins, agents that attack the hematopoietic system, and agents harmful to the lungs, skin, eyes or mucous membranes.

WorkplaceTesting explains Health Hazard

Exposure to a health hazard can produce a series of changes in the body, which triggers a series of signs or symptoms in the exposed employee.

Effects of exposure can be classified into the following:

  • Acute Effects: These usually occur rapidly and after short-term exposure. Effects generally last a short period of time and either clear or escalate quickly. They can include irritation, corrosivity, sensitization and lethal dose.
  • Chronic Effects: These occur after a long-term exposure to a health hazard. The duration of the effects are long-lasting and can include carcinogenicity, teratogenicity and mutagenicity.
This definition was written in the context of Occupational Health and Safety
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