The chemical industry adheres to some of the highest safety standards of any industry, at least in the US and most other developed countries. In the US many of these standards have been established by OSHA and other state and federal agencies, but many companies go above and beyond regulatory standards. Most companies have decided it is in their best interest to do so. The US has a well-developed system for the communication of safety information. Recent attempts to achieve a globally harmonized safety information system will further enhance employee and community safety worldwide.
There are, of course, exceptions; this level of development is not seen in many countries. Plants are operated to lower standards of safety in countries where employee and community safety has not been stressed. Even in the US, there are some companies who choose to take the low road rather than the high road.
Chemicals can be dangerous, but most of the products we use each day are dependent upon these chemical plants. Disasters can happen, but these are extremely rare. This is evident when the sheer volume of chemicals being manufactured, formulated, and used is taken into account.
There are a lot of regulations and inspections of chemical plants. If they were not safe, there would be a lot of reports of accidents in the news. In general, we have enough technology to ensure that our industries are safe. There is not reason to seriously question the safety of the chemical industry.
When dealing with chemicals there is a risk involved and a certain level of care that needs to be addressed. Chemicals in plants expose anyone that touches it or interacts with it to those chemicals, and some of which may be dangerous. Many chemicals are poisonous to dogs and cats as well.