Top 10 Work Hazards
Written by: Catalogs.com Editorial Staff
July 19, 2012
Filed Under Safety
Contributed by Info Guru Paul Seaburn
As someone who works at home, my biggest work hazard is a sleeping dog.
Hazards in the workplace are no joking matter – they can cause accidents, medical bills, lawsuits, lost productivity and worker discontent. There are many government regulations to prevent hazards and protect you when reporting them. If you have any of these work hazards at your place of employment, act to have them removed or dealt with before trouble happens.
We assume that factories and construction sites are noisy work environments, but offices can also expose employees to noises that are both harmful and annoying. If the noise can’t be lowered, avoid damage to your hearing by wearing sound blocking earplugs or noise protection earmuffs. If you’re losing productivity because of noise or loud talking an office, ask to be moved or see HR for other remedies.
Asbestos had been used as a fire-retardant in buildings for many years until its fibers were found to cause fatal lung diseases. It is most often found in older buildings in walls and ceilings and around tanks needing insulation. If you suspect asbestos in your work area, report it immediately and stay out until experts determine if it can be removed safely.
Some cities and states have legitimated smoking bans in buildings and workplaces because it can cause fires, create health issues for both smokers and non-smokers and contribute to low workplace morale. If an outright ban is not possible, petition for designated smoking and well-marked no smoking areas and ask HR to provide information on the health problems caused by smoking.
Modern buildings are made airtight to keep heating and cooling costs down, but they can also trap odors and gases which, while sometimes deadly, can also cause sicknesses and panic. Report suspicious odors immediately and don’t hesitate to evacuate the building until given an ‘all clear.’ If the odor is persistent, ask to have the cause identified and controlled.
Restrooms and eating areas should be cleaned regularly to avoid spreading germs and diseases. You can help by cleaning up after yourself but report excessive filth to management. Keep your own work area clean as well – keyboards are notorious for harboring germs.
Workplace harassment – whether it’s sexual, physical or verbal – is a serious hazard that should not be tolerated. Keep meticulous records of the harassment and report it as soon as possible to HR, management or outside legal authorities.
4. Ergonomic Hazards
Constant repetitive motion can cause physical injuries. Poorly-designed or cramped workspaces can cause both physical injuries and loss of productivity. Work with management to make changes to hazardous activities, furniture and work spaces before they become physical problems. Ergonomically designed chairs, ergonomic keyboards and personal workspaces are integral to a healthy, energetic workforce.
Violence in the workplace is on the rise. Report suspicious or aggressive behavior immediate to management or the proper authorities. In workplaces where there is frequent contact with the public, have clearly defined policies and procedures on how to deal with violent behavior and, if necessary, carry non-lethal personal protection like pepper spray and use metal detectors and security guards.
Preventing or escaping from fire in the workplace is not just the responsibility of the office fire warden – it’s everyone’s responsibility. Make sure your employer has fire extinguishers, regular inspections and fire drills and report fire hazards such as trash piles, exposed flames or faulty wiring. While annoying to some, smoking bans prevent fires.
Statistically, falls are the most common work injuries and are usually caused by wet floors, uneven floors, cables, poor lighting and carelessness. Report or remove spills, floor problems and trip hazards as soon as you see them. If a hazard can’t be moved, have proper spill warning signs and detoursdisplayed.