Nine Avoidable Workplace Health And Safety Hazards

Health and safety should be on the front of everybody’s minds while at their place of employment. While it is quite apparent that some workplaces will pose more of a hazard than others, any place of employment will possess a certain amount of risk if not properly monitored and maintained.

Homer Simpson - workplace safety hazards

Almost all workplace accidents and injuries are avoidable. Proper safety awareness can go a long way in reducing the personnel downtime due to injury and accident. The best way to identify and remove these hazards is to organize a team of at least three individuals to conduct a thorough workplace inspection. Using more than one person adds extra “eyes” to a site, tripling the thoroughness of the search.

Secure your cables

Loose cords and hanging wires are major tripping hazards. A single fall can result in broken bones; this is compounded if the hazard is located close to a set of stairs or any other uneven flooring. Carefully inspect each room in the workplace for any cords, wires or cables that are not completely secured. This includes multi plugs and extension cords.

Securely attach any loose items to walls or to floors. They should be secured in such a manner that there is no gap large enough for feet to slide underneath. If there is an opportunity to remove the loose object completely from the site, do so. Extension cords should be long enough to slide under desks or along walls and away from open walking areas.

Keep your floors flat

Mats with curled-up edges or that easily flip up are just as much of a hazard as are loose cables and wires. Any floor items in offices need to be ensured that they contain a non-slip base and that the condition of the mat is well enough that it lies completely flat on the floor.

Second shelf container storage

Powders and liquids should be stored in sealable containers. They should also be stored on ground level shelving. When these containers are stored above shoulder height, they run a risk of accidently emptying on the person who is trying to remove them from the storage shelf. The risk of chemical accidents significantly increases when a person needs to remove a container from a level higher than shoulder height.

Check your fire extinguishers

Fire Extinguishers need to be regularly checked. They do expire and, once expired, will need to be replaced. It is tragic to have a fire extinguisher properly placed in every room in a workplace only to discover that none of them are effective during a fire.

Label your fire exits

As important as working fire extinguishers is the need for well-marked fire exits. The way out may be simple for those that work in a small office, but never assume that all on site know your floor plan. If an evacuation emergency happened and a maintenance repair or service person was on site, they will know the route by identifying signs. Proper office safety mandates that these signs exist at all times.

Watch your head

Low hanging equipment, signs, materials or storage is one of the most common workplace hazards. Serious head injuries have resulted from being struck by solid objects unexpectedly. Ensure that all equipment is installed at a correct height and is stored as such. Remove any items that do not protect the upper body safety of employees on site.

Maintain your furniture

Properly maintained furniture and equipment removes the risk of accidental breakage and injury. Sharp broken table corners, worn out chair legs and loose heavy tools run a serious risk of personal injury. No matter how safety-conscious an employee is, if their surroundings are not secure, they immediately run a high risk of injury through no fault of their own.

Regularly service your equipment

Improperly working equipment injures and kills thousands of employees each year. It is imperative that workplace equipment is properly serviced regularly to ensure that they are in peak operating condition. Eliminating the chance of accidental injury.

Wear Proper Clothing

Loose-fitting clothing around rotating blades has always been a widely-used example of inappropriate clothing for the work situation. Of course, the employee runs a risk of their clothing being caught, causing injury (severe arm injuries and amputations are extremely common due to this oversight). This also applies to those that need to wear specialty clothing. Ensure eye protectors, dusk or gas masks, work gloves and other items are being worn whenever work conditions call for them.

By following a few simple precautions, a large number of health and safety hazards can be easily avoided. Workplace accidents do not always happen to the individual that was careless. Their careless actions may simply pave the way for an innocent bystander to become injured instead. Take the time to ensure that each situation is safe. Everybody wants to get home alive.

This article was written by Helen Philips, who has vast experience in writing on health and safety related topics.