Saturday, June 15, 2024

Workplace hazards


While watching workers at the many construction sides in the city or seeing how roadworks and maintenance are carried out for example, I cannot help but wonder how many accidents happen at these workplaces? In my search for answers I came across an article from the SafetyLine on, which provided me with some insights about the different kinds of hazards workers may be exposed to and thus for managers to be aware about and reduce related risks. Below I share the article, which I hope will be helpful for managers and business owners indeed to take their responsibility to care for their workers.
“Hazards exist in every workplace, but how do you know which ones have the most potential to harm workers? By identifying hazards at your workplace, you will be better prepared to control or eliminate them and prevent accidents, injuries, property damage and downtime.
Firstly, a key step in any safety protocol is to conduct a thorough hazard assessment of all work environments and equipment. In a hazard assessment, it is important to be as thorough as possible because after all, you can’t protect your workers against hazards you are unaware of. Avoid blind spots in your workplace safety procedures by taking into consideration these six main categories of workplace hazards.
Safety Hazards are unsafe working conditions that that can cause injury, illness and death. Safety hazards are the most common workplace hazards.
Anything that can cause spills or tripping such as cords running across the floor or ice
Anything that can cause falls such as working from heights, including ladders, scaffolds, roofs, or any raised work area
Unguarded machinery and moving machinery parts that a worker can accidentally touch
Electrical hazards like frayed cords, missing ground pins, improper wiring
Confined spaces
Biological Hazards include exposure to harm or disease associated with working with animals, people, or infectious plant materials. Workplaces with these kinds of hazards include, but are not limited to, work in schools, day care facilities, colleges and universities, hospitals, laboratories, emergency response, nursing homes, or various outdoor occupations.
Blood and other body fluids
Bacteria and viruses
Insect bites
Animal and bird droppings
Physical hazards can be any factors within the environment that can harm the body without necessarily touching it.
Radiation: including ionizing, non-ionizing (EMF’s, microwaves, radiowaves, etc.)
High exposure to sunlight / ultraviolet rays
Temperature extremes – hot and cold
Constant loud noise
Ergonomic Hazards occur when the type of work, body positions and working conditions put a strain on your body.  They are the hardest to spot since you don’t always immediately notice the strain on your body or the harm that these hazards pose.  Short-term exposure may result in “sore muscles” the next day or in the days following the exposure, but long-term exposure can result in serious long-term illness.
Improperly adjusted workstations and chairs
Frequent lifting
Poor posture
Awkward movements, especially if they are repetitive
Having to use too much force, especially if you have to do it frequently
Chemical Hazards are present when a worker is exposed to any chemical preparation in the workplace in any form (solid, liquid or gas).  Some are safer than others, but to some workers who are more sensitive to chemicals, even common solutions can cause illness, skin irritation, or breathing problems.
Liquids like cleaning products, paints, acids,solvents – ESPECIALLY if chemicals are in an unlabeled container!
Vapors and fumes that come from welding or exposure to solvents
Gases like acetylene, propane, carbon monoxide and helium
Flammable materials like gasoline, solvents, and explosive chemicals
Hazards or stressors that cause stress (short term effects) and strain (long term effects).  These are hazards associated with workplace issues such as workload, lack of control and/or respect, etc.
Workload demands
Workplace violence
Intensity and/or pace
Respect (or lack thereof)
Control or say about things
Social support or relations
Sexual harassment
Remember that these lists are non-exhaustive.  When you are completing a workplace hazard assessment, take into account these six larger categories to think of factors that may affect your workers in their particular circumstances. Does your workplace have any people who may work alone or in isolation outside of visual or auditory contact from other workers? These “lone workers” have a unique set of risks and their workplace hazard assessment should be treated differently.
Stay safe!

The SafetyLine Team”

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