As an employer, you need to be aware of workplace hazards. You have a legal responsibility to look after your employees, and adhere to health and safety guidelines. The most common workplace safety hazards are things like chemicals, confined spaces, electrical issues, forklifts, lockout procedures, poor housekeeping, and working at height.
However, many other hazards exist in the workplace that you may not have considered. Here are five examples of issues you should watch out for :
Unusual Safety Hazards :
Safety hazards are unsafe working conditions. You’re probably aware of the common threats like rickety ladders and unstable scaffolds, but be sure to also look out for unusual spillages and miscellaneous items on floors. Flooring choices play a key role in workplace slips and falls, with things like up-turned edges on carpets or mats leading to trips, and surfaces like tiles becoming easily slick when wet.
Biological Hazards :
These are easy to overlook, often because we don’t know what they are. But, if you’re working with animals or people, in a school, hospital, or laboratory, it’s important to consider exposure to disease. Avoid the spillage of blood or bodily fluids, control the spread of bacteria and viruses by keeping the workplace clean and tidy, and always thoroughly research plants before purchasing them. Plants often hold infectious materials which can compromise the health and safety of your workplace.
Physical Hazards :
A physical hazard is something that can harm someone without them necessarily touching it. Physical hazards can include things as simple as high exposure to sunlight in an office, temperature extremes when working outdoors, and constant loud noise in a factory. What you may consider merely an unfortunate part of an employee’s day-to-day work, could actually be a potentially serious physical hazard to an individual.
Ergonomic Hazards :
These are hazards which occur when the type of work puts a strain on an employee’s body. These are very hard to spot, as you and the employee may not immediately notice the strain or the harm that it can do. It’s easy to ignore short-term muscle soreness, which, if left untreated, could lead to serious long-term illness. Look out for improperly adjusted workstations, poor posture of employees, and awkward, repetitive movements.
Work Organisation Hazards :
This is a tricky category for many employers, as most people are unaware of what a work organisation hazard is. These are hazards which relate to the type of work required, and how achievable this is for your employees. These issues are related to things like workload demands, the intensity and pace of the work, and workplace respect (or lack thereof). This list is non-exhaustive. Be aware of issues that crop up relating to the type of work being asked of employees, as work organisation hazards can cause severe stress and strain.
In order to ensure that your company is appropriately insured against issues that can arise from these, and many other potential workplace hazards, make sure your company has the right level of insurance. Tradesman Saver offer tailored trade insurance policies for tradesmen and professionals, supporting businesses of all sizes by providing comprehensive cover in the event of the accidents, hazards, and unforeseen issues that can arise.
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