Workplace hazards are sometimes hidden in plain sight. Workers and managers need to be aware of 10 dangerous hotspots in facilities.
Fall protection is needed on ledges, stairs and places people may slip and fall. Air quality is often ignored because it’s mostly unseen. PPE can help.
Temporary electrical installations, such as extension cords, can be a shock danger, but also a trip hazard. Vehicles can cause struck-by accidents, so training and defined pedestrian areas are important.
Workers sometimes find themselves in confined spaces without knowing it. The spaces should be clearly marked. Falling objects are very common in many workplaces. Hardhats, signage and barricades can help avoid them.
Ladders cause more worker deaths than many realize. Anyone using a ladder should be aware of its limitations and have proper training. Chemicals have immediate and long range effects, and need to be labeled to GHS standards. All handlers must wear appropriate PPE.
Noise on the job is one of the worst workplace hazards. Companies should monitor noise levels, and provide adequate hearing protection. Emergency facilities, including first aid kits, AEDs and eyewash stations must be maintained and available at a moment’s notice.
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Dan Clark: Workplace hazards staring you down the throat? Employees sometimes don’t see pitfalls hidden in plain view.
Hello, I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief. This is where we talk about health and safety hazards in today’s demanding industrial and construction worksites.
After workers and managers have been in a workplace for a while, they may not see potential trouble. In no particular order, here are 10 typical areas—10 hotspots—for workplace hazards.
1. No fall protection. Ledges, stairs and slippery areas. Railings, fall protection harnesses, and visual cues such as signs and labels are potential solutions.
2. Bad air quality. Machines create dust and exhaust. Chemicals create fumes. First, try engineering controls to improve the air. If that’s not enough, go for face masks or respirators. Make sure they fit!
3. Risky Electrical. The famous electrical shortcut: the extension cord. It’s famous for being a tripping hazard. Oh it might shock, too, if poorly maintained. The best practice: retrofit with extra outlets.
4. Industrial Vehicles. Trucks, forklifts and hi-los all weigh a ton, and are in motion. Struck-by accidents are just waiting to happen. A lean evaluation may say “Hey, you can consolidate workflow,” so fewer vehicles are used and your process is more efficient. All operators, though, should have proper training. And use floor marking tape to mark traffic lanes so workers can avoid them.
5. Confined Spaces. Working in mines, crawl spaces, under machines, beneath vehicles can make employees cramped and at risk for accidents. Make sure employees know when they are entering a confined space and the exit route.
6. Falling Objects. Construction sites and warehouses have people working on multiple levels. Falling objects are common. Pass out the hardhats and other PPE, post warning signs and barricade dangerous areas.
7. Ladders. Ladders account for 8% of fatalities in the workplace, so don’t let workers shrug off ladder safety. They may not think they need training, but provide it.
8. Chemical Storage. Chemical containers should come pre-labeled, but if chemicals are moved to different containers, new labels aren’t always applied. When this happens, workers won’t know what kind of hazard they’re dealing with. GHS labeling of all hazardous chemical containers is essential and required.
9. Noise. Employees may not realize the noise in their area poses a threat. Test the noise levels in your facility yourself and provide PPE when it’s necessary.
10. Nonfunctional Emergency Services. An un-stocked or outdated first aid kit is a workplace hazard. So is an eyewash station surrounded by clutter. An AED on the wall is great, but do the workers know how to use it? Don’t let an injury become worse because you’re not prepared for an accident.
That’s all for Workplace Hazards — The 10 Hotspots. Come back for more tips and techniques on how to stay safety compliant in today’s ever-changing landscape of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, sponsored by Creative Safety Supply. See the website at creativesafetysupply.com
- Eyewash Station Requirements
- Struck-By Accidents In Construction
- Falling Object Risks
- Hazard Labels
- Ammonia Hazards
- Summer Workplace Hazards
- Fall Protection Around Openings and Holes
- Warehouse Traffic Safety Management