Whether you are on a construction job site or sitting behind a computer in an office, workplace hazards are all around. Unseen obstacles and improper actions in the workplace can lead to accidents. You could trip on a loose extension cord or fall over an open drawer of a filing cabinet. Not wearing a hard hat or leaning back in your office chair can also be hazardous. When looking to avoid safety hazards on the job, education is important. It is vital to make sure you and your coworkers are all on the same page about workplace dos and don’ts.
As of January 2017, OSHA has a new rule requiring employers to inform employees of their rights if they are injured. In some situations, you may be required to obtain and keep an OSHA card. This certifies that you have completed the safety training required for your industry. Some states or employers may require you to complete a 10-hour or a 30-hour OSHA training. You can get an OSHA card replacement within five years of completing your training.
The best way to avoid workplace hazards is to know what the risks are. There are four types of workplace hazards. They are as follows:
- physical hazards
- ergonomic hazards
- biological hazards
- chemical hazards
Physical hazards are very common in the workplace. Trips, falls, slips, and exposure to loud noise are just a few of the physical hazards that can occur in offices and on construction sites. A few ways to avoid physical hazards include keeping work areas organized and free of clutter, pushing in drawers when not in use, keeping high-traffic areas clear of obstructions, and having employees wear earplugs when there is a risk for damage to their hearing.
Ergonomic hazards involve injuries to the musculoskeletal system from improper posture and repeated motions. These types of hazards are not as obvious to spot, but providing employees with proper chairs and adjustable desks can ease many of the problems associated with improper positioning. It is also important to encourage good posture and proper exercise. Keeping up with the maintenance of your office equipment can decrease the risk of physical and ergonomic hazards.
Biological dangers are common in hospitals and doctor’s offices. Exposure to bodily fluids and diseases can be detrimental to employee health and safety. Bacteria and viruses are everywhere, but there are steps you can take to reduce biological risks in the workplace. One of the easiest precautions to take is proper hand-washing. Ensuring that all employees wear personal protective equipment when working in close proximity to diseased patients helps prevent the spread of biological contaminants.
Chemical hazards include any chemical substance that can cause injury, sickness, or death. These types of hazards may not be commonplace in your work setting, but being aware of the risks associated with chemicals can never hurt. Knowing the risks of culprits like paint and printer ink will make you and your employees safer.
Being aware of these hazards and taking the necessary precautions to avoid them is the first step in ensuring work place safety for you and your employees. By becoming educated on work place safety, you will be able to create a functional working and safe work environment.