The Most Common Workplace Hazards
Common Hazards and Descriptions
Chemical (Flammable): A chemical that, when exposed to a heat ignition source, results in combustion. Typically, the lower a chemical’s flash point and boiling point, the more flammable the chemical.
Chemical (Corrosive): A chemical that, when it comes into contact with skin, metal, or other materials, damages the materials. Acids and bases are examples of corrosives.
Explosion (Chemical Reaction): Self-explanatory.
Explosion (Over-Pressure): Sudden and violent release of a large amount of gas/energy due to a significant pressure difference, such as rupture in a boiler or compressed gas cylinder.
Electrical (Shock/Short Circuit): Contact with exposed conductors or a device that is incorrectly or inadvertently grounded. Example: a metal ladder comes into contact with power lines.
Electrical (Fire): Use of electrical power that results in electrical overheating or arcing to the point of combustion or ignition of flammables, or electrical component damage.
Electrical (Static/ESD): The moving or rubbing of wool, nylon, other synthetic fibers, and even flowing liquids can generate static electricity on the surface of material that can ignite flammables, damage electronics, or body’s nervous system.
Electrical (Loss of Power): Safety-critical equipment failure as a result of loss of power.
Ergonomics (Strain): Damage of tissue due to overexertion (strains and sprains) or repetitive motion. Overexertion causes most workplace accidents.
Ergonomics (Human Error): A system design, procedure, or equipment that is error-provocative (A switch goes up to turn something off).
Excavation (Collapse): Soil collapse in a trench or excavation as a result of improper or inadequate shoring. Soil type is critical in determining the hazard likelihood.
Fall (Slip, Trip): Conditions that result in falls (impacts) from heights or traditional walking surfaces (such as slippery floors, poor housekeeping, uneven walking surfaces, exposed ledges, etc.).
Fire/Heat: Temperatures that can cause burns to the skin or damage to other organs. Fires require a heat source, fuel, and oxygen.
Mechanical: Typically occurs when devices exceed designed capacity or are inadequately maintained. Skin, muscle, or body part exposed to crushing, caught-between, cutting, tearing, shearing items or equipment.
Noise: Noise levels (>85 dBA 8 hr TWA) that result in hearing damage or inability to communicate safety-critical information.
Radiation (Ionizing): Alpha, Beta, Gamma, neutral particles, and X-rays that cause injury (tissue damage) by ionization of cellular components.
Radiation (Non-Ionizing): Ultraviolet, visible light, infrared, and microwaves that cause injury to tissue by thermal or photochemical means.
Struck By (Mass Acceleration): Accelerated mass that strikes the body causing injury or death (Examples are falling objects and projectiles).
Struck Against: Injury to a body part as a result of coming into contact of a surface in which action was initiated by the person. (An example is when a screwdriver slips.)
Temperature (Heat/Cold): Temperatures that result in heat stress, extreme exhaustion, or metabolic slow down such as hypothermia.
Toxin: A chemical that exposes a person by absorption through the skin, inhalation, or through the blood stream that causes illness, disease, or death.
Vibration: Segmental or whole-body vibration can cause damage to nerve endings, and organs.
Visibility: Lack of lighting or obstructed vision that results in an error or other hazard.
Weather Phenomena (Snow/Rain/Wind/Ice): Self-explanatory.
In the JHA form below, we have added some potential hazards and possible injuries that might occur as the worker performs each step in the form below.
Identifying hazards in each step is a top priority to ensuring the overall effectiveness of the process of the JHA process.