Six Common Hazards at Work

There are many types of workplace hazards that can affect employees physically, mentally, and emotionally. Early detection of hazards and implementing safety practices can help to:

  • Improve business operations.
  • Reduce unexpected damages and lower associated costly repairs.
  • Lessen the number of work-related health issues including illnesses and injuries.
  • Improve employee productivity.
  • Improve regulation compliance.

According to OSHA six of the most common work hazards include the following.

Safety Hazards

A safety hazard is one of the most common hazards in the workplace. Most managers will find one or many of these hazards create unsafe conditions in their workplace because they can cause injury, illness and even sometimes death. Safety Hazards include:

  • Machinery-related issues include boiler safety, lockout/tagout, forklifts.
  • Working high-up on things like ladders, roofs, scaffolds, or a work area that is elevated.
  • Working in confined spaces.
  • Tripping hazards including things like spills and cords running across the floor that could make a person fall.
  • Electrical hazards like improper wiring, frayed cords, and missing ground pins.
  • Moving machinery parts and/or unguarded machines, guards being removed or moving parts that a worker could touch or run into.

Chemical Hazards

Even the most common solutions can cause illness, skin irritation or breathing problems depending upon how sensitive a worker is to chemicals. To that end, these hazards are present when any worker is exposed to any chemical in the workplace including solids, liquids, or gasses. Even the most common chemicals can cause illness, skin irritation or breathing problems. Be cautious of:

  • The vapors and fumes that can come from welding or exposure to the solvents.
  • Liquids like paints, cleaning products, acids, and solvents. Be especially cautious of liquids that are in an unlabeled container.
  • Flammable materials such as explosive chemicals, solvents, and gasoline.
  • Gases such as helium, carbon monoxide, propane, and acetylene.

Work Organization Hazards

These are the hazards associated with issues like workload, lack of control, lack of respect, etc. These are things that can cause stress due to short-term effects and strain due to long-term effects. Examples of Work Organization Hazards include:

  • Sexual harassment.
  • Workload demands.
  • Lack of respect.
  • A lack of control or say.
  • High intensity or rapid pace.
  • Lack of flexibility.
  • Lack of social support/relations.
  • Workplace violence.

Ergonomic Hazards

These hazards occur when working conditions put a strain on your body. They are hard to spot because the body strain is not immediately noticed, it can happen over time. Short-term exposer can result in sore muscles the next day or days following, where longer-term exposure can result in more serious illnesses. Examples of Ergonomic Hazards include:

  • Repeating the same movement frequently.
  • Having to use too much force especially if you are doing it over and over again.
  • Frequent lifting.
  • Poor posture.
  • Workstations and chairs that are not properly adjusted.
  • Repetitive awkward movements.

Physical Hazards

These hazards are issues that exist in the environment that can harm the body without necessarily touching it. Some examples of Physical Hazards include:

  • Constant loud noise.
  • Radiation including ionizing and non-ionizing (EMFS, microwaves, radio waves, etc.).
  • Temperature extremes both hot and cold.
  • High exposure to sunlight/ultraviolet rays.

Biological Hazards

These hazards are associated with working with infectious plant materials, people, or animals. Examples of environments that may have environmental hazards includes schools, colleges and universities, day care facilities, emergency response centers, hospitals, nursing homes, laboratories, outdoor occupations, zoos, etc. The types of Biological Hazards that you may be exposed to include:

  • Animal and bird droppings.
  • Body fluids such as blood.
  • Fungi/mold.
  • Insect bites.
  • Bacteria and viruses.

About EMR Safety and Health

Since its establishment in 1980, EMR Safety and Health has been in the business of Safety and Health education and one of the largest American Heart Association Training Centers in the country. For the last 40 years we have been the go-to source for OSHA authorized training. We offer a long list of OSHA and safety classes as well as OSHA mock inspections.