Common Hazards in the Workplace and How to Prevent Them
Injuries in the workplace can occur anywhere and at any time. If the correct safety and precautionary measures are not put in place, there is a real threat of not only staff sustaining injuries but being faced with a hefty lawsuit.
As a business owner, you have a duty of care for your employee’s health and wellbeing. Here we will examine some of the top hazards in the workplace, and what steps you can follow to prevent them from happening in the first place.
When the term ‘hazard’ springs to mind, we normally think of physical examples like a slip, fall, or fire. However, while these are very real hazards, there is a significant danger of noise, especially for those who operate in factories or other industrial environments. If the noise is loud enough to damage hearing, it’s crucial employees have the right hearing protection, like noise-blocking earmuffs or earplugs to wear. Whatever machinery or equipment is used, it’s essential that everyone can hear instructions, warnings, and alarms in the event of an emergency.
Slips, Trips and Falls
An incredibly common workplace hazard that can occur anywhere is the risk of slipping, tripping, or falling over. One of the main culprits is a damp or wet floor. If there are no signs in place to signify the floor is wet, there’s a high chance of someone falling and injuring themselves. This can lead to broken bones, brain damage, and potentially a fatal situation. These mishaps can easily be avoided by implementing preventative measures. Make sure you have a health and safety policy in place and enroll employees on specialist courses, so they’re aware of the dangers.
Hazardous substances may consist of cleaning products like chemicals. For those who operate in the medical field, these substances could include bodily fluids like saliva or blood. For those who work in confined spaces, there are major risks linked with chemicals. If you work with hazardous substances, you must conduct a COSHH risk assessment to identify them. HS Direct have a COSHH risk assessment template you can use to do this. They provide health and safety advice to businesses across all sectors, which you can make use of and put into action within the workplace.
Regardless of what kind of company you run, there’s always a substantial risk of fire. Therefore, it’s imperative your team are up to date with your business’s fire safety regulations. Health and safety courses inform your employees on what practices to follow in the event of a fire, as well as where the emergency assembly point is housed. Your business must have a fire extinguisher on site, as well as fire blankets and axes. Make sure to perform regular fire drills and test that your fire alarm and sprinkler systems are working correctly.
When employees are at work, you need to make sure they’re in a safe and protected environment. For this to happen, having a thorough understanding of the hazards above is essential. That way, you can identify certain risks and put protocols in place to keep your staff out of harm’s way.