The 15 most common safety hazards in the workplace and their control measures have been explored in this article to ensure a safer working environment.
Hazard Meaning: A hazard is something with the potential to cause harm.
It would be better if you were trained enough to identify the hazards in your workplace and take necessary safety control measures to mitigate those safety hazards in the workplace, as they can cause harm if not eliminated or controlled before they occur.
15 Common Safety Hazards In The Workplace
In this article, we will talk about the 15 most common safety hazards that might be present in your working areas. These hazards must be eliminated or controlled to ensure safe work practices during the execution of tasks. The 15 most common safety hazards in the workplace include;
- Non-compliance With Permit To Work System.
- Poor Supervision.
- Unauthorized Operation Of Equipment.
- Poor Housekeeping.
- Non-compliance With Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
- Defective Tools And Tackles.
- Working At Height.
- Suspended Load.
- Manual Handling.
- Vehicle And Equipment Movement.
- High Level Of Noise.
- Poor Illumination.
- Compressed Gas Cylinders.
- Hazardous Chemicals.
- Welding And Grinding Sparks.
1. Non-compliance With Permit To Work System
This is a legal and formal document. It must be obtained to execute any potentially hazardous activities. A permit-to-work document states the existing hazards and their control measures for the safe operation of the assigned tasks. A permit to work document can be obtained by a trained and authorized person only. Hazards in the workplace can be identified and controlled by implementing the permit-to-work system.
2. Poor Supervision
This is the leading cause of accidents in the workplace. It is crucial to ensure close supervision, Specially wherever new or inexperienced workers are engaged to carry out the task. Unwanted severe accidents in the workplace may occur due to lack/poor supervision.
3. Unauthorized Operation Of Equipment
Do not allow unauthorized personnel to operate equipment or machinery, as they can cause an accident. People unfamiliar with the equipment or machinery are at greater risk of an unwanted mishap in the workplace. Hence, all equipment and machinery must be operated by trained and authorized personnel only to avoid unwanted incidents in the workplace.
4. Poor Housekeeping
This is the most common cause of slip, trip, and fall at work site. To avoid this type of incident, always keep the workplace neat & clean. Do not scatter tools and materials in the workplace, especially power cables, loose hand tools, & small-sized materials. Ensure that housekeeping is conducted before, during, and after the work.
5. Non-compliance With Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
General personal protective equipment (PPE), such as a safety helmet, shoes, goggles, protective clothes, and hand gloves, must be worn by each employee in the workplace. Some additional job requires PPEs like double eye protection during welding & grinding activities, while a full body harness to work at a height of more than 1.8 m must be worn by task shall be worn by task operatives.
PPEs must be worn correctly, as PPEs are the last line of defense, and they must be inspected regularly by a competent person, and damage must be identified and removed from the workplace to avoid misuse.
6. Defective Tools And Tackles
This is the most common cause of hand and finger injury in the workplace. Proper maintenance and inspection of tools and tackles must be carried out regularly to ensure their durability. Use the right tools for the right job, and avoid leftover tools on site. Damaged or Defective Tools and tackles must be identified and tagged with a “DO NOT USE” tag.
7. Working At Height
The best way to avoid this hazard is to work on the ground whenever possible. Working at height hazard has the high potential to cause severe injuries, like fractures and even fatalities in the workplace. The working platform must be stable enough to support the load of workers and materials being used. Ensure the proper guardrails system is equipped with the working platform. People involved in work at height activity shall be trained in work at the height training course, and they should wear full body harnesses with double lanyards at or above 1.8 meters height.
8. Suspended Load
Suspended load means anything lifted above the ground is called suspended load. They can be Suspended using a crane, forklift, chain block, etc. Suspended loads are always dangerous because they may fall anytime and cause a severe unwanted incident or accident.
Nobody shall be permitted to stand under the suspended load in any circumstances. A proper barricade and safety signs must be installed below the suspended load to avoid workers’ exposure under the suspended load.
9. Manual Handling
Manual handling activities are the most common safety hazards in the workplace. The poor technique of manual handling can cause severe personal injuries like back pain, lumbar strains, slipped discs, and spinal injuries.
The best way to avoid manual handling hazards is to use mechanical aid instead of manual handling. Adequate numbers of workers with frequent rest breaks shall be ensured for safe manual handling activity. Task operatives must wear hand gloves with good grip, and walkways must be free from obstructions.
10. Vehicle And Equipment Movement
Vehicle and equipment movement is the leading cause of Serious accidents in the workplace. Vehicles and equipment can often be seen with uncontrolled movement, which can potentially cause workplace incidents or accidents.
The best way to avoid man-machine interfaces is to separate the pedestrian from the vehicle by providing a designated pedestrian walkway. Drivers and operators must be authorized and comply with the speed limit. Avoid overloading and identify the blind spot.
11. High Level Of Noise
Exposure to excessive noise can cause hearing damage or loss. The average noise level is 85 decibels, which shouldn’t be exceeded over eight hours at the workplace.
The best way to avoid this hazard is to enclose the noisy areas or equipment and separate the workers from the noisy environment. Otherwise, hearing protection such as ear plugs & ear muffs must be worn by task operatives whenever they are exposed to excessive noise.
12. Poor Illumination
Poor illumination may also lead to an unwanted accident in the workplace. This issue may be often suffered, especially during the commencement of work on the night shift.
Before the commencement of work, either at night or on the day shift. Ensure working areas are adequately illuminated to avoid incidents caused by poor lighting. It is the duty of the site supervisor and safety officer to check and ensure sufficient lighting in the working areas. The requirement of illumination depends on the environment & nature of the work.
13. Compressed Gas Cylinders
Compressed gas cylinders are essential in the workplace, and improper handling of cylinders can cause personal injury, such as sprains, bruises, strains, falls, and fractures. Improper use and storage can also result in fire, explosion, chemical burns, poisoning, and cold burns.
Use a cylinder trolley for the safe handling of compressed cylinders. Cylinders must be secured with a steel chain. Different types of cylinders must be stored separately in designated cylinder storage areas. MSDS and suitable categories of fire extinguishers must be kept in the cylinder storage area. Do not roll cylinders on the floor. Use the cylinder’s cap while transporting compressed gas cylinders.
14. Hazardous Chemicals
Exposure to hazardous chemicals without proper training and safety precautions can cause severe health injury. These chemicals must be used and stored according to the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). Hazardous chemicals can also lead to fire & explosion. Prolonged exposure to harmful chemicals in the workplace can cause chronic diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, etc.
Wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE) while dealing with harmful chemicals in the workplace. Take other safety precautions mentioned in the MSDS. Ensure workers are adequately trained on how to handle & use hazardous chemicals safely. Keep flammable chemicals away from the source of heat and naked flame.
15. Welding And Grinding Sparks
Welding and grinding activities are the most common activities at construction sites. Sparks generated from welding & grinding tasks cause burns and other personal injuries. Welding & grinding sparks are potentially harmful and can cause fire incidents if flammable & combustible materials are present in unprotected conditions surrounding the welding & grinding activities.
Take adequate safety control measures according to hazards associated with welding and grinding tasks. Wear proper personal protective equipment, such as welding helmets, safety goggles, leather hand gloves, fire retardant clothing, aprons, safety shoes, and respiratory protection. Remove combustible & flammable materials or protect them with fire-retardant materials in the welding & grinding areas. Workers must be well-trained to carry out hot work safely. Protect the welding & grinding areas to avoid sparks from blowing out from the working area.
Being aware of workplace hazards and their controls is essential to work safely. That’s why the main 15 safety hazards in the workplace that can be faced have been explored in this article. Workplace hazards must be identified and controlled with remedial safety measures to work safely before commencing any activities at work sites. Identify the hazards, look for controls, and implement them to work safely in your workplace.
Q: What Is Hazard Meaning?
Ans. A hazard is something with the potential to cause harm.
Q: What Is Suspended Load?
Ans. Suspended load means anything lifted above the ground is called suspended load.
Q: What Is MSDS?
Ans. MSDS stands for materials safety data sheet that gives us complete information about hazards and control measures associated with the materials.
Q: What Is Housekeeping?
Ans. Housekeeping means a place for everything and everything in its place.