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How to Adequately Protect Yourself When Working With Chemicals


Do you know that skin problems/diseases are the most common non-injury health concern reported by workers who handle chemicals in their course of work.


Skin-related health problems can result in high medical costs, physical pain, low self-esteem and even disability.


Our skin protects our body by limiting loss of water and other compounds from our body.  Healthy skin limits harmful substances from entering our body.  If skin damage occur as a result of contact with chemicals it can greatly reduce our skin’s ability to protect us.


Some seafarers handle chemicals or toxic materials when working on board the ship thus it is of utmost importance that seafarers adequately protect themselves when handling toxic chemicals.


The skin can be exposed to chemicals at work in some of the ways listed below:

  • Direct contact with liquid
  • Contact via spray or mist
  • Touching contaminated surfaces


Make sure that you take the necessary precautions when working with chemicals:


  • If possible, revise a process to limit or eliminate exposure to chemical. For example, instead of applying a chemical with cloth, use a brush or applicator instead.
  • Wash skin with soap and rinse thoroughly and then slap on the moisturizer. Dry skin is more prone to irritation by chemicals.
  • Always clean up the work area after work is done. This can help minimize contact with chemicals on work surfaces.
  • Always use personal protective equipment (PPE) when handling chemicals. It can be coveralls, appropriate chemical-resistant gloves, boots.



Everyone has the responsibility to maintain a safe working environment on board the ship.