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3 Top Potential Hazards in the Workplace and How To Avoid Them

As a worker, you are exposed to many dangers and risks that can result in workplace accidents. This article will highlight 3 top potential workplace hazards and show how to avoid them.

Every workplace presents a unique set of safety hazards, but many familiar sources of injuries and illnesses include falls, slips and trips, overexertion, and repetitive motion. By taking the time to assess your workplace and identify any potential problems, you can take steps to protect yourself from injury or illness.

Let's look at the most common workplace hazards, why they happen and how to evade them.

1. Falls, slips, and trips.

Most slips happen on wet or contaminated floors. Trips and falls regularly occur as a result of poor housekeeping. A primary risk assessment would be enough to identify the potential hazards for these occurrences. Trips, slips, and falls are the most common work-related injuries. Injuries caused by slips, trips, and falls account for over one-third of all major injuries. Slips and trips are responsible for half of all reported workplace injuries among members of the public who visit businesses such as shops, restaurants, and hospitals. Consider what might cause slips or trips in your workplace and determine whether you are doing enough to avoid them. You must take steps to control the risks you have identified:

- Prevent flooring from becoming soiled or damaged in the first place.

- Establish a schedule for routine cleaning and another for spot-cleaning as needed.

- When a spill occurs, please clean it up as soon as possible.

- If you leave floors wet after cleaning, someone will likely slip and fall. Use appropriate methods and products when cleaning your floor.

- Keep a watchful eye out for trip hazards such as loose cables, uneven floorboards, or ripped carpets, and do your best to ensure that your workers keep the place tidy.

- Make sure workers wear appropriate footwear for their surroundings.

- If you are installing new flooring, ensure it is suitable for the area or spaces where it will be used.

2. Electrical injuries

Electricity can cause injuries at many different voltages, but the risk of injury is more significant with higher voltages and depends on individual circumstances. Even such everyday things as torch batteries can cause accidental ignition of flammable substances.

Electrical injuries may include:

- Electric shock

As little as 50 volts of electricity can cause the heart to stop beating correctly, prevent breathing, and cause muscle spasms. The voltage and effect depend on several factors, including humidity, length of exposure, and part of the body exposed.

- Electrical burns

Electrical burns can occur when an electrical current goes through the body. These burns are often deep, require major surgery, and may be permanently disabling. The severity of such injuries depends on the current voltage. Still, even household electricity, if allowed to pass through the body for more than a fraction of a second, can cause injury.

- Muscle control loss

People who receive an electric shock get painful muscle spasms that can be potent enough to break bones or dislocate joints. The affected person may fall if working at a height or be thrown into nearby machinery and structures.

- Thermal burns

Faulty, overloaded, or poorly maintained electrical equipment can get very hot, as can batteries connected to low-voltage electrical systems (such as those in motor vehicles). Such equipment may explode if it is shorted out: sparks from a welder, for example, may cause an explosion if they touch flammable vapors or gases. People might get thermal burns near overheated surfaces, an electrical blast, or accidentally touch nearby machinery.

3. Fire

Statistics show that most fires can be prevented if the company has essential fire procedures. Three elements must be present to start a fire: a heat source, fuel, and oxygen. Ignition sources include naked flames, heaters, lighting, cigarettes, matches, electrical equipment, and anything else that can heat up or produce sparks.

Fire safety risk assessments must be conducted and updated regularly by the employer. This approach shares the same framework as health and safety risk assessment and should be part of an overall or individual risk assessment. Based on the assessment findings, employers need to ensure that adequate fire safety measures are in place to reduce risks of injury or death during a fire. For preventing fire in the workplace, the risk assessment should identify the potential fire causes (sources of ignition, heat or sparks; flammable substances) and people at risk. Once the risks have been identified, the appropriate action should be taken to control them, avoid them, or reduce their occurrence.

Safety hazards at the workplace can have devastating consequences. A better understanding of safety, prevention, and proper utilization of tools, equipment, and machines helps make a workplace safe. Employers should provide training to employees on how to use these tools safely. Employees need to be aware that they are responsible for practicing good safety habits to reduce the chances of accidents.


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