In the U.S, a worker is injured on the job every seven seconds. That’s 7 million work injuries every year!
Employees are at risk of facing physical hazards so it’s crucial that companies provide their team with the right training so no one gets hurt.
If you don’t know the physical hazards in the workplace, you’ve come to the right place. Here are the top five.
1. Cluttered Workspace
Having a cluttered workplace not only looks messy but it’s a safety hazard.
Employees are at risk of accidents when cables, building materials, and debris are blocking aisles and exits. It’s important that everyone cleans up after themselves and puts everything back in its proper place.
Make sure shelves aren’t overloaded and that they’re secure. Employees must clean up any spills immediately to ensure there are no environmental hazards.
2. Working at a Height
Falls from a height are the biggest cause of death in the workplace, with 40 employees killed every year.
There’s always a risk working at a height, whether it’s on a ladder or scaffolding. Hazards often arise because of a lack of training so employers must give their team fall protection and gear so they can hook onto an anchor point when working at a height.
Workers must wear the right-sized personal protective equipment (PPE) and have it regularly inspected to guarantee it’s in good condition. For instance, employees should wear a hard hat, harness, and have a safety net ready to take their fall.
If you’ve suffered from a physical injury in the workplace, check this blog post about whether you have a case.
3. Electrical Hazards
Old, faulty wiring and too many extension cords risk electrocuting employees.
Extension cords are useful for temporarily supplying power, such as a fan on a sweltering day, but they mustn’t stay there as they become a trip hazard.
Plus, when several extension cords are linked up, they can easily overdraw electricity. As a result, the wires will overheat and could ignite or create electric shocks.
Employers must inspect cords and remove any that are damaged or missing insulation. Employers should only use high-quality cords with a heavier gauge as they take more power without overheating.
If the workplace needs extra outlets, hire an electrician to install secure ones instead.
4. Exposure to Toxic Chemicals
As soon as an employee’s hired, employers must tell them about substances that could pose a health risk like gases, dust, vapor, and corrosives. Even commonplace items like gasoline, paint, and sawdust are potential chemical hazards.
Employees must wear goggles and gloves when handling these substances, only using them in a well-ventilated area. It’s important to understand that exposure to substances can make employees sick over time instead of instantly.
All chemicals must be labeled because some can become unstable over time, resulting in an explosion. To avoid this, note what the chemicals are for and why they were ordered.
5. Unsafe Use of Equipment
Employees must have in-depth training before using any mechanical equipment like forklifts.
Many workers use forklifts to improve productivity but they may take shortcuts like driving an enormous load or driving when distracted.
As a result, the driver could hit a rack, go into the wall, or injure a co-worker. Instead of blaming the employee, employers must re-train and re-test the driver before letting them use a forklift again.
Machinery should also be inspected frequently so they are in proper working order.
How to Prevent Accidents in the Workplace
Now we’ve answered the question “what are the 5 types of hazards?”, it’s important to cover the actions employers can do to prevent these health hazards. The most helpful ones include:
OSHA Safety Training
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training includes online courses that cover the following topics:
- Environmental awareness
- Human resources
- Supervisor-related course topics
Employers must follow this training and teach employees the necessary safety protocols. They should give everyone an introduction to occupational safety and health alongside hazard recognition.
The training should relate to the employee’s department and they must take regular refresher courses too.
Wearing PPE should be mandatory so ensure employees are wearing it. All PPE must be the right size and employers must train their staff on how to properly wear and take off the gear.
If employees don’t wear their PPE, it’s the employer’s responsibility to ask why and make necessary amendments. Clearly communicate the importance of PPE and the risks of not wearing it.
Small businesses may not have the budget to evaluate whether the workplace is safe so they should reach out to free resources.
There are fire and workers’ compensation insurance that offers free inspection programs. OSHA does too and doesn’t penalize the employer if they find any violations on their first visit.
But not all resources are free so employers must invest in training and PPE to keep their workers safe.
Create a Strong Culture
If supervisors or managers aren’t following safety rules, their team won’t either.
Your organization must create a culture that prioritizes safety so it’s everyone’s responsibility and workers feel comfortable reporting any hazards.
Those Are the Top Physical Hazards In the Workplace
Those are the main physical hazards in the workplace and ways to create a safe environment for your team.
It’s crucial that employees receive training, the right PPE, and support to avoid any accidents. Managers must set an example so employees can report any potential hazards, so you maintain a safe work environment.
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