What is Hazards in workplace?
Hazards in workplace are any situation within the workplace that can cause injuries, illnesses, damage equipment or fatal accidents if not identified and controlled.
I worked in many different work environments, The most common thing between them is that the hazards in workplace are always exist. All we need is to minimize the chances of occurrence of accidents.
A nominated person is always available for conducting a risk assessment to identify all risks and hazards. However, it is the responsibility of everyone to take attention to hazards in the workplace and minimize the risk of accidents. Let’s discuss different types of hazards at workplace.
Most common workplace hazards
There are different unlimited hazards in the workplace, however, we will discuss different categories that are the most common and hazardous.
This type of hazard includes the effects of viruses, insects, bacteria, animals, etc. on human health. The effects due to the biological infection include skin issues, and respiratory system irritation.
Some other effects of the biological hazard cause Blood-borne diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B & C, as well as malaria. These blood-borne diseases are caused by viruses and can transmit via contact, infected blood, or bodily fluids.
Chemical Hazards in workplace
The hazards that are caused due to chemical substances are called Chemical hazards. Chemical hazards cause both health and physical impacts. These impacts include skin irritation, blindness, respiratory system irritation, corrosion, and explosions.
The main reason for chemical hazards is cleaning chemicals in an improper way, or during the use of welding fumes, Hair dye, shampoo, and other henna products.
Another type of hazards in workplace is the physical hazard. These types of hazards are environmental factors that can harm employees at the workplace. Physical hazards cause due to unnecessarily touching such as heights, noise, radiation, and pressure. The example includes electric hazard, fire, etc.
Safety hazard sometimes comes under the category of physical hazard. These hazards are caused due to unsafe working conditions. The example is exposed wires, damaged carpet, rugs, spills, ice, etc. which might result in slipping, tripping, or falling. similarly, Unguarded machinery can also cause safety hazards.
Ergonomic Hazards in workplace
This type of hazard is a result of physical factors that can cause musculoskeletal injuries. The example includes poor workstation set up in an office, poor posture, Vibration, manual handling, and use of display screen equipment.
The ergonomic hazard exists everywhere. Therefore, everyone must take care of it.
This type of hazards in workplace causes an adverse effect on an employee’s mental health. The example of psychological hazard includes work stress, victimization, as well as violence at the workplace.
How to identify hazards in workplace?
I can’t count the number of times that I was very close to an accident in my first industrial workplace!.
Not only me the one who was close to the danger, but also I was about to affect others and cause them serious injuries. This was because I was fresh graduated from electrical engineering faculty, and the place I worked in then has no safety or PPE program. They even didn’t train me or give me necessary PPE.
The point I want to say is, that new workers who have no working experience are not able to identify workplace hazards and they are more likely to get involved in risks and get injured.
Identifying hazards in workplace needs you to imagine all possible scenarios that could happen in the site. Let’s have an example.
Identify hazards in the workplace example
Assume you are involved in safety program and you want to perform risk identification in the job site.
Taking a walk through the site and recording all possible risks is the first step. Some hazards are easy to identify, like non isolated electrical wire, trip and slip hazard in case of the floor is wet, fall from height hazard and more.
Some other risks are hidden and need you to focus, And here comes the experience and safety training. Like welding work at hazard area (i.e oil and gas areas), using equipment not EX protected in a classified zone etc.
Hereunder some important tips to actively identify types of hazards in the workplace
- Don’t rely only on your experience and always go to the job site and conduct inspections to see closely any hidden risks.
- Take notes and record all possible hazards.
- Talk to the workers in the sit, they could help you to identify hazards that you can’t see.
- Reviewing the safety history and old accidents in this organization shall help you to identify possible and repeated hazards.
- Performing risk assessment will be better and more effective if it done by a team.
- Never neglect small hazards, or hazards that could be some kind not possible to happen (Hazards are waiting a chance to happen).
- Review all workers jobs and the personal protective equipment they use. Match the risks they face to the PPE they wear.
- Mark hazards to be visible by every one. Use color codes, labels, warning signs and barriers to make sure all workers and even visitors of the site are a ware of all kinds of hazards.
Another hazard identification examples
Look carefully at the below workplace photo and identify all possible hazards you can see. Record the hazards and how to control them, Then read the below list of hazards of mine.
I will be happy if you identify hazards that I couldn’t because as I mentioned above that risk assessment is better done by a team.
How to control it
The crane must be valid to lift this weight.
Checking the crane maximum weight, and also the crane condition
The crane driver must be certified to operate this crane
Check the driver license and training certificate
The crane helper could get injured if not authorized for this job
· Review the helper training certificate and license validation.
· Also make sure he have and use his proper PPE.
· Never ever allow the helper to stand under the load even for a very short period
The weigh could fall
Before the job check the lifting wires validity for this load and its condition
On the left side there is a tractor doing another job, The two drivers could get crash each others
· Make sure all working heavy equipment drivers know about other working equipment in the location.
· Also you may need a supervisor for both equipment to watch them all the work time.
Workers could get injured by any of the working equipment
Only necessary workers for the tow jobs are allowed to enter the location
Loud noise could hurt hearing
Wear ear plugs
Workers visibility to vehicles drivers
All workers to wear high visibility vest