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A Glasgow mother has issued a stark warning this week after her toddler suffered severe burns after spilling oven cleaner over his legs.  Two year old Aaron Cadder suffered third degree burns after he came into contact with the household product at his grandmother’s house.  He required to undergo surgery for skin grafts and will now be scarred for life.  He also suffered an allergic reaction to the substance which caused his face to become red and swollen, although luckily this was not burned by the cleaner.

hazardous chemicals Aaron’s mother, Paula Gibson, has now urged other parents to ensure they keep cleaning products well out of reach of small children.  Stories such as this highlight the potential dangers of every day products and adults, not just children, should also be aware that commonly used household products can contain harmful substances.  Any exposure to such substances should be avoided.  As well as causing burns, exposure to hazardous chemicals within cleaning products can lead to sensitisation, allergic reactions and the development of life long conditions such as irritant or allergic dermatitis and asthma.

At Thompsons’s Solicitors, we deal with many claims on behalf of people who have been exposed to harmful cleaning products at work and who develop injury as a result. Such claims can be pursued under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002. This legislation provides that employers should prevent their employees being exposed to harmful substances or if this is not possible, take steps to adequately control exposure to such substances.  This would usually include providing suitable protective equipment, such as gloves or masks, but unfortunately these Regulations are all too often ignored.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have acknowledged that cleaners in particular are at increased risk of developing dermatitis.  Often cleaners use the same products that are commonly found in households around the country and although we do not know the name of the oven cleaner that harmed young Aaron Cadder, it is likely that this would be considered a substance hazardous to health in terms of the 2002 Regulations and the use of it in a work environment would require to be controlled.   The HSE’s advice to cleaners is that they should avoid exposure to cleaning products, protect themselves if they are unable to avoid exposure and check for the early signs of skin complaints.  This guidance should be kept in mind by all those who use cleaning products, whether at home or work.

Blog by Claire Campbell, Solicitor

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