By nature many workplaces are hazardous. As an employer, you have a duty to be aware of these hazards, reduce the risks associated with them, and ensure all employees are aware of the safety measures in place.
Hazards that occur aren’t just harmful to your finances, they can also damage your reputation and the morale of the workforce.
That’s why it essential you understand the 5 types of hazard in the workplace and take steps to minimize them.
All workplaces have chemicals. At one end of the scale, these may be part of a chemical production process which creates the products you manufacture. The other end of the scale has cleaning products, detergents, and bleach.
But, all chemicals can be harmful if digested and many can do harm if they come into contact with your skin. Some are also harmful if they are inhaled.
You need t be aware of what chemicals are present, how they should be handled, stored, and make sure that all employees adhere to these rules.
This generally refers to conditions that can negatively affect an employee. Forklift trucks on site can be a hazard and your employees need the right high vis workwear. Equally, badly positioned furnishings can cause injury and bad air quality or buildings that are too hot/cold can cause physical discomfort.
Physical hazard can also include radiation and mold, or noise.
Ergonomic hazards are those that cause injury through repetitive actions. For example, pushing a heavy cart around every day is likely to result in an injury at some point, as is lifting boxes incorrectly all day.
The emphasis is on the employer to ensure the employees are aware of these types of hazard and have the necessary training to deal with them.
A good employer will also think about the tasks to ensure they are as ergonomic as possible and employees know the best exercises to undertake to combat the repetitive moments.
Temperature is also a feature of workplace hazards. However, this type of hazard also includes things such as bad ventilation, confined spaces, lighting, or even working at heights.
Anything about the environment that surrounds a workplace should be evaluated. The things that make the environment sub-par compared to an optimized workspace are considered hazards and need to be addressed.
It may not be possible to change the space but training the employees, raising awareness, and ensuring there is plenty of support will mitigate the risk of these types of hazard.
These types of hazard can be harder to pinpoint. It covers harassment and bullying in the workplace and employers should have a zero-tolerance policy toward it.
The issue in identifying this type of hazard is that employees may be reluctant to step forward and discuss the issue. You need to ensure there are regular meetings to discuss issues and allow employees to mention any concerns they have. Then you’ll need to carefully follow u and take the appropriate action.