A workplace is a location where employees perform their occupational responsibilities, jobs, functions and projects in response to their employers call for action. It should be managed with the safety of all personnel in mind. Whether you are a high ranking officer or a subordinate, you should be afforded a safe environment to work in.
Just like any other situation or location, a workplace is not exempted from hazards that may result in an accident or health-impacting condition. It is, therefore, imperative that the management guarantees the health and safety of everyone.
As an employee, you also have the responsibility to ensure that you keep yourself safe at all times. You should also look out for others as you are part of the team. If you see something that may cause risk not just for you but for the workplace, you should report it immediately to your risk management team.
It is best to know and understand what these hazards are, so you could plan, prepare, and be ready for what may happen.
Top 6 Workplace Hazards
Safety hazards can be found in almost all kinds of workplaces but they are most likely to happen in construction sites or manufacturing companies where pieces of machinery operate day and night. Employees who work in these areas are prone to trips and slips. In some cases, clothes get caught in machines or debris may fall on them.
Safety hazards may include working from high areas like cleaning the roof or windows, painting a building on scaffolding and working on a crane. Electrical hazards are also considered risks to your safety at work. And when you work in confined spaces like cleaning elevator shafts or blocked aisles, it is also considered a safety hazard.
Biohazards is a diverse form of workplace hazard. It may include working in an environment that involves people, animals, plants, and infectious things. If you are working in hospitals, schools, medical laboratories or research facilities, you are susceptible to biohazards.
Let’s say you are a volunteer for a response team and you were asked to rescue someone who got lost in the forest, then you may be exposed to the biological hazards of both the forest and the person you will rescue. There are many risks that you may encounter like ferocious animals, poisonous plants,deadly bacteria and the unknown condition of the person you are to rescue.
Chemicals, along with their compound and mixtures can sometimes cause harm to people and their workplace. This may include mutagens, corrosives, flammable gases, solvents and other toxic solutions.
These chemical hazards do not only cause damage to the workplace but may also harm personnel. If you are working in the utility department and you deal with cleaning solutions that are highly intoxicating, your organs such as your lungs may be harmed by inhaling them. In which case, it is highly advised that you wear protective gear when working.
This type of workplace hazard are those that can harm employees physically or can put their bodies at risk, like working in highly pressurized places, cleaning elevator shafts and windows and exposure to radiation or extreme noise.
If you are working as a chef in a restaurant, you may be at risk when cooking or chopping ingredients and in case of a kitchen fire. Another scenario would be working at a research facility where you are exposed to an extremely cold climate which, in turn, may result in hypothermia.
When body posture, mobility and strength are at risk when working, you are facing ergonomic hazards. These may include sitting or standing for long hours, being subjected to a day-long vibration, heavy lifting and all activities that can lead to musculoskeletal injuries.
Ergonomic hazards are generally attributed to workloads that need repetitive movements. In some cases, these repetitions can result in muscle strain or back and neck injuries. For example, you are working for a shipping or courier services company that requires you to carry heavy boxes day in and out.
While the younger you can withstand the heavy lifting, your body is also susceptible to the wear and tear of time. In the long run, your body posture, mobility and strength will be affected by the constant and continuous heavy lifting, hence, considered an ergonomic hazard.
Lastly is organizational hazards. These are related to workplace relations such as work demands, violence, abuse, assault, lack of support and respect, stress, and anything that may affect an employee’s mental health and emotional well-being.
An everyday-yelling-boss is no better than an assignment that requires you to render overtime to 5 consecutive days. Both these situations can impact your psychological state of mind and how you feel about work as well as yourself.
Now that you know and understand these top 6 workplace hazards, always be on guard. Learn how you can prevent these hazards or at least let your management know that you and the workplace are at risk.
Learn more from Workplace Emergency Management!
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