Workplace involves numerous processes, including biological, mechanical, chemical, and ergonomic processing, where several people live and interact with each other and the outer environment.
Depending upon the workplace environment and process involved, there are several workplace hazards that one must consider.
Every job has possible safety concerns, but how can you determine the most dangerous ones?
You will be better equipped to reduce or remove dangers at your site, preventing accidents, illnesses, property destruction, and delays.
First and foremost, doing a complete safety hazard assessment of all sorts of surroundings and equipment is an essential stage in any safety strategy.
What is a hazard?
According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), a hazard is “any cause of possible injury, injury, or ill health consequences on anything or anyone” in occupational health and safety.
Regardless of the work environment, there are six types in which hazards can be categorized, including chemical, physical, biological, environmental, ergonomic, and safety hazards.
- Chemical hazards
When a person is subjected to any industrial chemicals in the field, there are chemical dangers (solid, liquid, or gas).
A few are safer than others, but even ordinary remedies might cause sickness, itchy skin, or breathing difficulties for some who are chemically susceptible.
- Asbestos, one of the deadliest fibrous materials, is frequently present in most workplaces where the workers’ health is continuously at stake.
- Asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma, which is a terminal ailment. This exposure is either a result of employer negligence or the worker not taking adequate precautions.
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2. Cleaning products, paints, acids, and solvents are examples of liquids that should be avoided, especially in an unmarked container.
- Gases and emissions produced by welding or solvent discharge.
- Carbon monoxide, helium, and h2s gas are examples of gases.
- Pesticides and combustible items and materials such as gasoline, various solvents, and exploding compounds.
2. Physical hazards
Physical dangers may be the lowest visible of all the hazards in your employment. Physical risks, although their title, aren’t necessarily something you can perceive or feel.
Workers are exposed to physical dangers due to harsh weather or hazardous working circumstances.
Employees subjected to sunlight for an extended time face physical risks that can have lengthy consequences for their well-being.
Physical dangers are any elements in the surroundings that might cause injury to the body without ever contacting it. Physical hazards include;
- Irradiation and radiation materials (EMFs, microwaves, radio waves, etc.) are all examples of radio hazards.
- Sunlight/ultraviolet rays are exposed to a great extent.
- Gases in a pressurized environment.
- The severity of temperature — hot and cold
- A continuous barrage of loud sounds.
3. Biological hazards
Biological hazards, often known as biohazards, are any biomaterial that has the potential to damage humans.
Dealing with wildlife, humans, or pathogenic plant materials can expose you to biological dangers such as injury or sickness.
Schools, childcare facilities, academic institutions, hospitals, labs, emergency management, healthcare facilities, and different outdoor jobs are examples of workplaces with these types of safety concerns. Biohazards include:
- Blood and bloody fluids
- Insects and their bites carrying germs and poisons
- Fungus and mold
- Animal and bird wastes
- Microbes like bacteria and viruses
4. Environmental hazards
Last but not least, environmental dangers are continually changing due to more uncertain – and harsh – weather conditions.
The sad fact is that they are generally out of our reach, but the best part is that climate difficulties and risks are more predictable.
Environmental hazards include:
- Extremes of temperature (both hot and cold)
- Severe moisture (snow and rain) is expected.
- High levels of radiation
- Pollution (both air and toxic)
- Medical dangers/errors
- Violent members of the general public.
- Wild animals.
5. Ergonomic hazards
Occupational safety concerns arise when the nature of the job, body postures, and workplace environment burden your body.
They’re the most difficult to recognize since you don’t usually realize the pressure on your body or the danger these risks offer.
Short-term contamination can cause “muscle soreness” the next day or days after the stress, while prolonged contact can cause significant long-term problems. They include:
- Workspaces and seats that are not correctly positioned.
- Lifting regularly.
- Painful emotions, particularly when they are repeated.
- Having to use excessive force, particularly if it is required regularly.
6. Safety hazards
Safety hazards rank first on the table of six categories of workplace dangers. Workers who operate closely with machines or on building sites are exposed to these dangers.
Dangerous operating circumstances resulting in damage, disease, or death are called safety risks.
According to the National Safety Council, 34,673 persons died in falling at home and work in North America in 2016.
The most prevalent occupational dangers are as follows:
- Elevated and/or-pace activities.
- Control or have a say in how things are handled.
- Relationships or peer assistance
- Bullying of women.
To prevent the dangers mentioned above, one must be aware of them and follow the OHS recommendations for dealing with them.
Ensure that your OHS policies are compliant with all applicable national, regional, and local laws and requirements. Verify that your employees are appropriately educated and qualified to handle any machinery or equipment they may utilize in the workplace.
Keep Safety Data Sheets (SDS or MSDS) for any chemical goods in your business, and make sure they’re easy to find.
All personnel should have access to appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as hard helmets, safety glasses, and ventilators.
Use instruments and other gear appropriately and exclusively for the purposes they were designed for.