By Maire Hunter
Have you ever taken the time to consider the risks that surround you when you’re at work? Unless someone’s been paying close attention, there could be a hazard around every corner of your workplace. While you don’t want to be paranoid, you do want to be aware of the potential dangers you face, so you can take steps to avoid them. Here are some common workplace safety hazards that are often overlooked.
Gas is often an odorless hazard. Not only can it lead to a risk of fires, but it can also lead to asphyxiation risks. There are many types of hazardous gases potentially found in the modern workplace, from carbon monoxide to natural gases and even corrosive contaminates, and many cannot be detected without special detection equipment. Gas detection equipment is an essential part of keeping workers safe on the job. Simply set up the gas detector you need, calibrate it and you won’t have to worry about gas leaks endangering your employees.
That puddle of water may seem innocent enough, but an unsuspecting worker could easily slip and fall, injuring himself in the process. Workers should be taught to attend to spills quickly, whether they cause them or simply see them. Leaving spills on the floor puts everyone at risk. Other fall risks include unsafe climbing, leaning on rails and failure to use safety harnesses when working on scaffolding or ladders.
Sure, everyone in your workplace knows that fire is dangerous, but do they really know how risky it is at your specific location? Make sure that your employees know what fire hazards are affecting them at work, and what they should do in the event of a fire. A fire drill may seem like something for kids in school, but it’s a good practice to have one occasionally. You need to know that your workers know how to get out if they need to evacuate quickly.
That box you are about to lift actually is a workplace safety hazard. Sure, it might look innocent enough, but lift it incorrectly and you’re left with a strained back or slipped disk. Proper lifting technique is an often-overlooked part of workplace safety. Always lift using the muscles in your legs, not your back. This means bending at the knee, picking up the item, and then using your leg muscles to lift yourself and the item back to a standing position. Pay attention to the weight on the box, because many boxes are heavier than they look and may require two people to lift.
Yes, the workplace can be a dangerous place if you’re not paying attention. Even an office with few serious hazards can present potential risks. So take the time to think about safety around your workplace, and don’t forget to consider these often forgotten hazards. By doing a little planning now, you can protect yourself or your workers from serious injury later. Combine safety equipment, awareness and training to keep everyone safe.