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How to Avoid Common Workplace Safety Hazards


Most jobs come with their potential safety hazards. The difference between a workplace with little or no accident occurrences lies chiefly in the preventive measures put in place. Apart from that, the safety consciousness of the employees themselves also plays a role in keeping them safe and harm-free.

The reality of every workplace environment is that it does not take combustible substances or heavy equipment to make it dangerous. A little mistake here and there can cause severe health problems. Let’s take a look at the common workplace safety hazards and what you should do to avoid them.

Slips, Trips and Falls

This is often caused by improperly placed objects, slippery floors, faulty staircases, or just plain inadequate attention to equipment. To prevent this, ensure that your floors are always dry. If the janitor is cleaning, let there be a bold and clear “wet floors ahead” sign that will help people notice this and avoid slipping and falling. If there are objects placed in improper locations, particularly on high traffic routes in the office get rid of them. All routes, walkways and corridors in the office should always be clear and without any obstructions.

Ergonomic and Repetitive Motion Injuries

There are a number of chronic health conditions that have been linked to ergonomic problems. This is a problem because these ergonomic-related conditions account for the largest number of lost hours in the workforce. So, what can you do to prevent these?

Provide your employees with ergonomically compliant chairs and desks. All chairs should have proper lumbar support, arm rest and head rest. Your legs should also be able to touch the ground comfortably. As for repetitive motion injuries, just encouraging healthier routine movement practices such as pulling, pushing and sliding as against carrying, and lifting can go a long way in preventing that.

Communicable Diseases

Cold and flu are the most common culprits. The workplace is a common place for the spread of communicable diseases because most people are in proximity, and there’s contact with central locations like the coffee mug, door handles, lift buttons and work desks.

Establishing safety routines such as instituting remote working policies in the event of an illness can help curb the spread of most communicable diseases. Of course, you might need proof of the employee’s ill-health though, just to make sure that the policy is not abused.

Toxic Events and Exposure

If you work with chemical substances, there is always a possibility of toxic exposure and gases like carbon monoxide (often called the silent killer). Gas and chemical leaks can and do happen in manufacturing firms and companies where heavy equipment, gas, and chemicals are used a lot. Prevent this by carrying out routine gas leak checks once a month at the very least. Do random toxic exposure tests, carry out frequent maintenance on equipments and tanks containing such toxic substances and transform and highlight the relevance of safety during fortnightly, weekly or monthly meetings. There’s also the possibility of workers inhaling toxic gases and dusts. Providing your employees with the necessary breathing or nose masks while working on such sites can help.

Getting Struck by Objects

This can happen in construction sites and offload sites. Protect your workers by providing them with protective helmets. Instruct all workers on the importance of safety protocols whilst moving objects and how to be careful when they are working at high altitudes.

Hearing Loss

This is particularly common among employees who work in environments or sites where there is a lot of noise and the use of heavy equipments. The best thing to do here is to provide your staff with protective ear-covering while they are working. The protective ear-covering, while being able to reduce the noise drastically, should not be so thick as to block out all noise including fire alarms or heavy truck horns.

The writer, Oscar KIng, is director of human resources at a small internet-based startup that is already learning the pitfalls of workman’s comp. To help manage the workload resulting from it, he uses software provided at To learn more about Oscar you can visit Google+.