The first step in staying safe in the workplace is to know what dangers are present. It is important to identify hazards so that the appropriate precautions can be taken and all employees can be trained or educated effectively.
Here is an overview of five types of workplace hazards you need to assess for your workplace.
- Safety Hazards
- Physical Hazards
- Biological Hazards
- Ergonomic Hazards
- Chemical Hazards
Safety hazards include those that create unsafe working conditions and can cause immediate injury. Examples of safety hazards are:
- Exposed cords in walkways
- Frayed electrical cords
- Spills on the floor
- Protruding sharp edges
Some hazards are tangible, like a frayed cord, but others are not as obvious. The category of physical hazards includes environmental factors that can harm employees without actual contact.
- Extreme temperatures
- Radiation exposure
- Noise pollution
- Air or water pressure
Working with other living things — be it people, animals, plants, or pathogens in test tubes, presents its own set of hazards. Exposure to hazardous or infectious material can come from:
- Bacteria and viruses
- Blood and other bodily fluids
- Mold or fungi
- Animal droppings
- Poisonous plants
Ergonomic hazards impact the musculoskeletal system due to strain put on the body. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) affect the muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, or spinal discs. Potential causes include:
- Heavy or frequent lifting
- Improperly adjusted workstations
- Repetitive motions
- Static or sedentary positions for too long
Chemical hazards may take many forms: liquid, gas, fumes, or particulates. These substances can be harmful if touched or merely inhaled. Some examples are:
- Silica dust
- Flammable liquids or materials
- Methane gas
- Fiberglass fibers
- Carbon monoxide
Let us help you stay safe.
If you’ve never taken an inventory of potential workplace hazards, now is the time to start. Having a plan to combat the dangers in your work environment is the first step to keeping your employees safe, healthy, and happy.
As part of your comprehensive plan for workplace safety, turn to I & O Medical Centers. We are the leader in occupational medicine in Hampton Roads, treating work-related injuries, providing medical surveillance, conducting substance abuse testing, and more. Contact us today to set up your account!