Common work hazards all companies should prevent
You may have the misconception that if you create a comfortable and climate-controlled work environment, your employees are safe. Still, tens of thousands of work accidents happen annually.
Slips and trips are the most common workplace accidents, accounting for a great number of personal injuries. But they’re not the only hazards present in an office; other risks include noise, electrical hazards, poor workstation ergonomics, strains, sprains, indoor-air-quality issues, or excessive or insufficient lighting.
Identifying the hazards that could put your workforce to risk is the first step in eliminating them and reducing the possibility of personal injuries. Your human resources department has the role in identifying and fixing dangers and issues by instituting guidelines and creating a formal reporting system that enables workers to inform you about unsafe conditions before they pose a threat to their health.
Here are the main work hazards you should look for.
Slips, trips, and falls
As stated before, slips and trips are the most common workplace accidents, and you should ensure your workspace facilitates no such incidents. Exposed cords, wet floors, uneven floors, unstable work surfaces, cluttered areas, and loose rugs can cause a slip and trip accident.
Supposing your employees work outside, inclement weather conditions like rain, ice, or snow could trigger a slip hazard in exterior areas, ramps, stairs, walkways, parking lots, and entry and exit areas. If your cleaning company fails to clean wet floors thoroughly, your employees could slip, fall, and hurt themselves. You can use ice-melting products and offer your employees non-slip shoes to prevent slip, trip, and fall hazards if they work outdoors during winter.
Ask your cleaning team to remove all spills immediately and post signs to warn workers about accident hazards in recently cleaned areas. Ensure that office walkways are clear of clutter and hazards at all times to prevent a trip risk. All internet and electrical cords should be secured appropriately and out of workers’ way.
In a perfect world, your fleet would never see an accident, but the reality is different. If you neglect to oversee your fleet, your drivers could cause accidents leaving your company to face many expenses and legal issues. When one of your employees is involved in an accident, you should understand who is liable for the expenses associated with the wreck. If another driver caused the crash, your employees could ask for compensation for their personal injuries. The other party’s insurance company should pay for your driver’s medical issues like whiplash injuries and property damage. Work with a personal injury solicitor to assist your employees in getting compensation for car accident injuries when they’re not at fault for the crash.
If your driver causes an accident, your business is directly responsible for their actions, and you must pay the expenses associated with it. Driver training can improve your drivers’ skills and reduce the number of accidents involving your fleet.
Office employees spend at least eight hours daily at a desk, working on a computer and are predisposed to ergonomic strains and other similar injuries related to repetitive movements and bad posture. It’s challenging for you to detect this kind of work hazard. But you can prevent ergonomic injuries by offering your employees access to various adjustable desks, chairs, computer screens, keyboards, and other types of office equipment and tools to accommodate their specific work styles. Instruct your workforce on setting up and operating the equipment you provide to avoid ergonomic injuries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers general recommendations on setting up a computer workstation and completing daily office tasks.
Make general workstation ergonomics part of the training you provide to new employees.
- The chair’s height should allow them to keep their feet firmly on the ground.
- The keyboard and mouse should be placed at a comfortable height and close to each other and the employee’s body to avoid reaching.
- The elbows should be at a 90-degree while typing.
- The arms should hang loosely at the shoulders.
- The chair should offer firm back support, and the employees should sit straight.
- Everyone should keep their bodies in a relaxed and natural posture.
- The chain, monitor, and keyboard should be positioned in a straight line with their body.
Ensure your wellness specialist keeps an eye on employees for musculoskeletal disorder symptoms. Specialists recommend watching out for symptoms like weakness, fatigue, pain, or numbness, as they are the first signs to point to an ergonomics issue.
Indoor air quality
Poor indoor air quality could cause occupational asthma and other respiratory health issues, allergies, and chemical sensitivity. Factors like water damage, office overcrowding, the presence of pesticides and cleaning chemicals, mould growth, inadequate ventilation systems, too little or too much humidity, cubicle office design that prevents air flow, and poor housekeeping can give rise to poor indoor air quality and make your employees sick.
You can improve the office’s air quality by properly cleaning and maintaining the ventilation and HVAC systems. Regular maintenance reduces the amount of respiratory irritants present in the air, and, therefore, the likelihood of illness and infections. Regular cleaning can prevent the accumulation of dirt, dust, pollen, and other irritants on office surfaces and cut down the possibility of illness, infections, and irritants.
Promote orderliness and cleanliness in the workplace and train your employees to care for the office to prevent the spread of disease and illness. Lunch areas, break rooms, restrooms, and refrigerators should be periodically cleaned and sanitised, and employees should throw out their food before it spoils.
How to identify workplace hazards?
Assessing the work setting for safety risks is essential to prevent illness and injuries. You can apply several methods to identify hazards, but here are three easy steps that can help you begin the process of creating a safe environment.
- Conduct regular inspections and assess the equipment, tools, and work practises to identify potential hazards.
- Interview team leaders and workers
- Create a hazard map