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10 Common Workplace Safety Hazards & How to Prevent Them

Whether it is an office, a building site, or any organizational environment, each workplace has its own set of unique risks. There are hundreds if not thousands of possible workplace hazards that workers have to face every day. 

Safety must be a priority for everyone, especially within a workplace. While employees must always be vigilant and careful of such risks, the duty always falls on employers to create, maintain, and provide a safe workplace for their staff to work in.

This blog post will explain some of the common workplace safety hazards that can result in severe ramifications to both businesses and their employers, cause life-long health risks to its employees, or even ruin a business’s reputation within the sector.

General Health & Safety Hazard Statistics

The recent survey of Occupational injuries and illnesses undertaken by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the number of workplace injuries in 2020 was lower compared to the previous years.

There were nearly 2.7 million cases of non-fatal occupational injuries and illnesses in the US, resulting in 62% of lost working days. As per the International Labor Organization, a further 160 million workers suffer illnesses at work globally each year. In the private sector, 2.7 per 100 full-time workers suffered non-fatal injuries and illnesses.

These statistics show that a substantial number of employees are sufferin from health and safety risks, which can result in lost working days, and subsequently cost businesses as well. Along with this, businesses have to face legal and financial consequences as well, such as fines and increased regulation.

Therefore, employers, managers, and business owners must have adequate control measures with vital knowledge of hazard vs risk to control workplace hazards that can result in serious health risks. 

Workplace Hazards & How to Prevent Them

Some of the common workplace hazards that can make a big difference in the work environment are:

1.  Slips, Trips & Falls

One of the most prominent hazards of any workplace or organization are slips, trips, and falls. Falls from tripping over who-knows-what is easily the most common cause of injuries at work. Uneven floor surfaces, wet floors, or loose cables are some of the reasons for slips and fall hazards. 

To prevent such hazards employers must examine their workplaces thoroughly to identify any kind of such dangers. It is an employer’s responsibility to ensure that their workers are working in a secure environment and so provide them with adequate knowledge, information, and training to implement safe working practices. 

2.  Electrical Hazards

Electrical hazards are also a major reason for most workplace accidents. Shocks from live wires or malfunctioning equipment can happen with no warning and can easily be fatal. Workers can also be harmed directly or indirectly through some sort of conducting object or material. 

Employers must take vital steps to maintain all electrical installations, choose the right work equipment, and provide proper electrical safety training to their staff to prevent electrical accidents and minimize hazards. 

3.  Working at Height

Working from height is one of the most frequent causes of many serious accidents and fatal injuries within any workplace. Accidental falls account for the highest percentage of fatalities at work.

To account for this issue, employers must design their workplaces in a way that ensures the durability of the equipment used while working at height. They must also provide proper working at height training or ladder safety training to their personnel to meet Work at Height Regulations and improve the health and safety of all employees.  

4.  Fire Hazards

Poorly managed and maintained electrical equipment can result in fire hazards and damages which can lead to severe losses to both lives and properties. Fire can occur in any workplace and so fire extinguishers must be accessible all the time in case of an emergency.

Employers must take into account their staff training needs. There is plenty of help for health and safety training online available that offer vital knowledge on fire safety, fire extinguishers, and fire door inspection. These can help meet legal requirements and keep everyone safe.

5.  Hazardous Chemical, Liquids & Gases

Numerous industrial organizations use hazardous chemicals or substances as part of their job every day. If these dangerous chemicals, liquids, or gasses are not handled with care can result in severe injuries or long-lasting ailments. Therefore, those working with such chemicals must have adequate knowledge and risk prevention measures in place to conduct their work safely.

6.  Workplace Stress

Stress is a common issue in almost every aspect of life, especially job-related stress as it can lead individuals to severe health implications. Managers and employers of staff responsible to protect their health must consider this as a significant workplace hazard and provide them with practical guidance to mitigate this risk.

7.  Mental Health Hazards

Mental health hazards are also common in most workplaces and organizations. The major source of such mental health issues is stress, depression, and anxiety related to work. Employers must examine this health issue in their workplace and provide necessary care, information, and training to the staff members in need. 

This will help minimize work-related stress, employee absenteeism and increase their productivity and efficiency. 

8.  Violence & Aggression

Similar to mental health disorders, workplace violence and aggression are also a workplace hazard with varied underlying causes. Approximately 2 million people suffer some form of workplace violence within their industry every year. This results in various health issues among staff like physical injuries, sickness absences, or days off work.   

9.  Working in Confined Spaces

Working in confined spaces can be hot or uncomfortable and can lead to severe health hazards or fatal injuries. Confined spaces can result in numerous hazards like oxygen deprivation, excess oxygen, hazardous gasses, or fumes. 

Employers of the staff undertaking such work should be provided with the proper equipment, safety measures, training, and risk management processes.

10.  Ergonomic Hazards

Sprain, strains, fatigue, repetitive motions, or poor working posture can lead to chronic health issues including physical and psychological health hazards. This can have a negative impact on an employee’s morale and productivity. Therefore, those managing such work need to consider practical and effective strategies to cope with this issue, such as maintaining proper posture and using ergonomic equipment when possible. 

Conclusion 

This blog post is an in-depth explanation of common workplace hazards that can lead to severe implications for businesses and their employers in terms of financial, regulatory, and legal costs. Therefore, those responsible for protecting their staff must have vital knowledge to tackle such risks to create a safe workplace for all.