Mercury poisoning at work can happen and a lot of employees from different industries are exposed to it. This tasteless and odorless metal element has silvery white color. It is in liquid form at regular room temperature. Its element form transforms into gaseous form at any temperature even below zero. It may be heavier than lead and hence a toxic element. Exposure to mercury compounds can cause serious poisoning. Its vapor form and when combined with fine dust can be inhaled, swallowed, or absorbed through the skin.
Symptoms of mercury poisoning
Symptoms for chronic poisoning include malaise, tiredness, swollen and ulcerated mouth, bleeding in gums, loose teeth, spittle, shaking, and the person’s emotional state is unstable. For acute poisoning, this can result to nausea and vomiting, pain on the abdomen, headache, lose bowel movement, and sometimes weakened heart.
People who work in mines who get exposed to mercury need to take careful precautionary measures to avoid getting poisoned. Garments used at work need to be thoroughly cleaned. If clothes are vacuumed, the machine needs to be equipped with the appropriate filters. Persons who work at the mining site have to take head to toe showers focusing on the hands and head. They should change from their work clothes before they head for home. Clothes that were used during the day have to be kept inside containers that cannot be penetrated by vapors. These should be washed thoroughly following each use. If the clothes are contaminated with impurities, avoid shaking the items or hosing them down. Vacuuming first would be enough. Work clothes and civilian clothes should be stored separately. Food items are not supposed to be kept, served, or consumed inside any area that may be contaminated with mercury.
Smoking is not allowed inside areas with mercury. In addition hand, head, and face have to be meticulously cleansed with warm water and soap. Rinse prior to eating or drinking. Mercury impermeable flooring and work areas as well as equipment should be kept without breaks and gaps which might hold mercury.
When mercury is spilled, it should be cleaned up thoroughly. Using a sweeper or blower is no longer allowed. Contamination with mercury is very hard to control; hence, spillage must always be prevented. Waste contaminants should be kept in containers that are not permeable by gaseous materials. It should be properly labeled and enclosed. Bear in mind that mercury is odorless and tasteless. Hence, precautionary measures are vital.
Small scale private mining employees are more at risk of mercury toxicity since their methods remain undeveloped. Mercury and a lot of its compounds can be easily absorbed through unprotected skin. These contaminants are typically utilized within laboratories, hospitals, clinics, and other places that use chemicals. Poisoning caused by mercury can be lessened and prevented. This may be done by eradicating or minimizing exposure to contaminating compounds. Consequently, federal groups and private organizations have made immense actions to control the use of mercury and made people and groups about the dangers and necessary precautions.