Common Workplace Hazards You Should Watch Out For
There are a lot of workplace hazards that can come up in your office or manufacturing plant. Workplace hazards need to be handled immediately and taken care of, or else you are putting your workers and yourself in danger. But sometimes workplace hazards are easy to overlook – if you’re not keeping a keen eye out that is. Here are a few of the most common workplace hazards you should watch out for at your place of business.
Physical hazards in the workplace are any hazard that has a physical impact on the human body. These types of hazards can encompass things like slips and falls, falling materials and unguarded machinery. But, it can also include things like loud noises, high up workplaces, and even ergonomic issues with your desks and chairs. Be sure that you are aware of every physical aspect of your workspace and how they could be viewed as a hazard. Provide the necessary safety equipment to keep your employees safe on the job from all physical hazards.
There are plenty of chemical hazards out there, whether your workplace involves the frequent use of large quantities of chemicals or not. A hazardous chemical is any chemical that could cause a physical or health hazard – which encompasses a lot more than what you might typically consider a chemical. If your place of business uses things like paint, glue, cleaning products, acids, solvents, or even copier toner, then you have chemical hazards in your workplace. Now you need these chemicals in the workplace for things like cleaning and maintenance. But you can help keep them safe by storing chemicals in safe locations, teaching your employees how and when to use them, and having chemical cleaning sinks and spaces in the event of an accident.
Protecting your workers and employees from heat exhaustion is a part of your duty to protect them from workplace hazards. Heat exhaustion can take place anywhere that there is excessive heat, not just outdoors in the sun, so be careful no matter where you are. Make sure you have air conditioning or a fan to cool down your workspace, and ensure that there is water for everyone. Allow for breaks as often as is necessary to prevent heat exhaustion – it can quickly become a more serious issue like heat stroke.
Sun exposure is an outdoor workspace hazard that many people do not think about. If you are having any sort of work done outdoors, then sun exposure needs to be considered. Sun exposure increases all sorts of health risks, like cancer and sunburn. You need to get a canopy for your workspace or outdoor vehicles without roofs. While operating a vehicle, a shade canopy can reduce risk of skin cancer. Make sure that you consider sun exposure anytime you have workers or employees outdoors.
No matter what kind of workplace you operate, fire hazards are a major consideration you need to make for the safety of your employees and workers. The steps to prevent fire hazards are relatively simple: keep fire alarms, detectors, and sprinklers hooked up and functioning properly. You should test your sprinklers and fire alarms frequently to ensure that they are functioning properly. But you also need to keep your employees prepared as well. Regular fire safety seminars and refreshers are important to make sure everyone knows the fire escape route. You should also have fire extinguishers throughout your worksite, and if your workspace involves work around flames, then there are other precautions you need to take, like fire safe equipment and clothing.
The risks of asbestos have been well known for quite some time now. Asbestos can be found in all sorts of materials used in buildings that were constructed before the 2000’s. Asbestos causes serious illnesses related to breathing difficulties, and most famously, mesothelioma, which is a cancer that targets the lungs. Asbestos is not a wildly common workplace hazard anymore, but any workers that are involved in maintenance on older buildings are likely to be exposed to asbestos at some point in their work. If you work in a building that was constructed using asbestos, then you may also be at risk. Contact an asbestos professional to determine the best plan to reduce asbestos risk in your workplace.
Biological hazards are any sort of bodily fluid, or other living being, like bacteria and viruses, or droppings of a living being, like bird feces. Any of these kinds of biological hazards can cause serious illness and diseases in humans. Most biological hazards are dangerous to humans via physical touch, and others are airborne or consumed. The best way to handle biological hazards is to keep your workplace clean and cleaned often. Dispose of dangerous biological waste properly and quickly, and make sure that biological hazards are handled safely with the proper sanitary equipment.
Open wires and circuits are major health hazards to have in your workspace. Any voltage over 50 volts AC is considered to be hazardous and needs to be dealt with immediately. Electrical accidents are one of the hazards on this list that can cause permanent injury or even death. Make sure that all of the electrical work in your building is up to date and safe. If you operate a worksite or construction site, then make sure that you are using the right equipment and that your workers are using electric safe footwear. Make sure that all electrical circuits are hooked up properly, cords are undamaged and untangled, and that no stone is left unturned to ensure the safety of your space.
Workspace hazards are everywhere, and it is your job to eliminate as many of them as possible. If you know the right places to look, you can identify workplace hazards you had never considered and eliminate them before they become a problem. Stay vigilant and always be observant, you always want your workers and employees to be safe, and to maintain a safe workplace for them.
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