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Safety should be a priority for everyone wherever they find themselves, particularly in the workplace. It’s essential to know the various potential hazards present in your working environment to ensure its safety.  A recent statistic by the US Bureau of Labour indicated that the injury rate per every 100 full-time workers was unchanged from previous years’ 2.8%. Regardless of your workplace or what you do for a living, there’s a possibility you may get injured working. But how do you minimize or prevent this all together? Here are 7 common hazards in your workplace and how to avoid them.

  1. Trips, slips and falls

One of the common workplace injuries is falls from wet floors, loose cables, and uneven floors. Employers will have to spend so much money to take care of these incidents’ expenses; meanwhile, most of these accidents could’ve been prevented if safety guidelines were adhered to. The responsibility of the workplace and employee safety remains with the employers. Accidents will occur, yet simple advances could have helped guarantee employee safety, such as tidying up spills, placing equipment like cables in their right places when not in use, enhancing workplace lightening, and ensuring workers do use anti-slip footwear and boots.

  1. Ergonomic fails

Ergonomic dangers emerge when workers experience distress from using standard tools in the workplace, for example, office chairs, desks, and workstations. It’s worth noting that something beyond distress and inconvenience due to flawed ergonomic plans, muscle strain, awkwardness and fatigue remain major concerns. With employees spending 33% of their work-life in their seats, using appropriate ergonomics is vital. The primary step towards ensuring proper ergonomics is to engage an expert to offer a better view to providing all equipment designed to reduce discomfort.

Both right and left-handed people should be able to use tools without significant difficulty. Likewise, tables and chairs should consider the average weight and height of workers. Improvement in ergonomics increases staff morale and enhances productivity.

  1. Faulty electrical

‘Live’ wires can hurt individuals, whether directly or through conducting material or objects. Voltages more than 50 volts ac (120 volts dc) can be risky and should be given serious attention. Sadly, some electrical mishaps that occur at work every year are deadly. Electrical shocks can cause serious, perpetual wounds, so defective gears should be checked regularly as a precautionary measure. Some essential electrical safety measures include ensuring proper electrical installations, using the appropriate gear work, for example, anti-shock footwear and replacing all damaged cables. Faulty machines can, in some cases, lead to fire, as well.

  1. Fire hazards

Fire outbreaks can hurt businesses with poor housekeeping guidelines, public access for potential arson, and low equipment maintenance. Alongside structures, individuals and inventories can be severely affected, yet you can take precautionary measures to forestall such incidents. Even during primary school, everyone is taught about the dangers of fire, therefore ensuring the entire building is equipped with a well-functioning alarm and detector system should be a priority. Scheduling a routine fire alarm inspection is a smart approach to protecting life and property. Fire-fighting equipment like extinguishers must be installed in the entire building and be a standard feature during a fire emergency in the workplace.

Does your employees’ work involve exposure to fire? Then equip them with heat-proof or fire-resistant footwear. Highly flammable materials must be used with utmost care and attention and turn off any equipment which is not in use. Supervisors and staff play a crucial role when it comes to fighting fires in the workplace.

  1. Hazardous liquids

For example, several industrial, agricultural and medical sectors use various forms of liquid which can pose dangers to employee safety. Typically, these chemicals come as acids in disinfectant, cleaning items, paints, pesticides, glues, petroleum commodities, and solvents. You could inhale such fluids, spills on the skin and other sensitive body parts, and accidentally ingest it into the body. These could contribute to poisoning, headache, vomiting, allergies, burns, among other health threats.

Therefore, ensure to limit exposure to such hazardous chemical substances as much as possible. Wear protective clothing and equipment like goggles and gloves and ensure safe handling. More so, one person may be assigned to routinely check and monitor the level of harmful substances present in the workplace.

  1. Disease spread

With workers spending most of their day together at the workplace, the disease’s spread has been a significant concern for employers during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. It’s practically impossible to prevent employees from sharing things among themselves, even bugs. Air-borne infections are easily transmitted among working groups through simple cough or sneeze. Such conditions don’t just pose an employee health risk but remain a massive threat to workplace productivity. Therefore, it’s essential to include regular vaccination and other safety precautions like frequent hand washing and mouth covering when coughing or sneezing in the workplace. 

If possible, why not join the 94% of employers who have reported maintaining or increasing productivity despite switching to remote working due to COVID-19?

  1. Noise

Have you ever been advised to turn down the volume of your music to protect your eardrums? Believe it or not, loud noise in your work puts you at risk of permanent hearing damage. Hearing loss may occur over time or immediately if exposed to heightened sound waves due to an explosive sound like gunfire, blasts, or cartridge-enabled devices. Suppose you found yourself working in a noisy environment, for example, a factory or building site, or perhaps an airport. In that case, you’re included among those in most danger of experiencing hearing damage. Being used to a noisy environment doesn’t make you immune to experiencing hearing loss.

When you find people raising their voice to be heard, even a yard away is a decent sign of noise reaching damaging levels. Ensure you secure yourself and your team on how to use hearing protection to minimize risk exposures. Additionally, ensuring proper maintenance of machinery will decrease the noise it generates during usage.

While not all perils are clear, they could be unique to your working environment. This can make it hard to identify and guard your employees against them quickly. However, this guide should help you appreciate the various workplace risks and where they could be.

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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