Are You Aware Of These 6 Types Of Workplace Hazards?
Working in a hazardous environment can be extremely dangerous. It is essential to be aware of the different types of hazards that can exist in your workplace so that you can take steps to avoid them. This blog post will discuss six common types of workplace hazards and how to protect yourself from them.
Aware Of These 6 Types Of Workplace Hazards
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 critical step in any safety protocol is to conduct a thorough hazard assessment of all work environments and equipment. Before starting with the list below, we encourage you to download a copy of our Hazard Assessment Guide.
You can walk through the steps necessary to set up your hazard assessment and print out our supplied blank worksheet for your workplace hazard assessment. A hazard assessment must be as thorough as possible because you can’t protect your workers against hazards you are unaware of. Avoid blind spots in your workplace safety procedures by considering these six categories of workplace hazards.
1. Safety Hazards
Safety Hazards are unsafe working conditions that can cause injury, illness, and death. Safety hazards are the most common workplace hazards.
- Anything that can cause spills or trip 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
2. Biological Hazards
Biological Hazards include exposure to harm or disease associated with working with animals, people, or infectious plant materials. Workplaces with these hazards include but are not limited to, work in schools, daycare facilities, colleges and universities, hospitals, laboratories, emergency response, nursing homes, or various outdoor occupations.
TYPES OF THINGS YOU MAY BE EXPOSED TO INCLUDE:
- Blood and other body fluids
- Bacteria and viruses
- Insect Bites
- Animal and bird droppings
3. Physical Hazards
Physical hazards can be any environmental factors that can harm the body without necessarily touching it.
- Radiation: including ionizing and non-ionizing (EMFs, microwaves, radio waves, etc.)
- High exposure to sunlight/ultraviolet rays
- Temperature extremes – hot and cold
- Constant loud noise
4. 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 the days following the exposure, but long-term exposure can result in serious long-term illness.
ERGONOMIC HAZARDS INCLUDE:
- 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
5. 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 even common solutions can cause illness, skin irritation, or breathing problems to some workers who are more sensitive to chemicals.
- Liquids like cleaning products, paints, acids, and 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
6. Work Organization Hazards
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.