7 Common Workplace Safety Hazards

Accidents can happen anywhere. While we often aren’t prepared for an accident in the workplace, our offices are filled with many different types of hazards. Being that most of us spend 40+ hours per week at our office, it’s important to know what the potential hazards are and how they can be avoided. That’s what we discuss in this blog.

Small spaces: Most people don’t think of small spaces as promoting hazards. The problem with small spaces isn’t that they’re small–it’s that they’re often stuffed with furniture or equipment, which ultimately produces a hazard in the event of an emergency. When it comes to office life, make sure that all spaces have adequate escape routes. It is one key to avoiding injuries.

Chemicals: Many warehouse, retail, factory and lab workers use chemicals. Even office workers use chemicals for tasks such as cleaning up work spaces, the kitchen area, or mopping floors. Chemicals can sit dormant during long periods of disuse. While a small bottle of cleaner may seem harmless, there are some solutions that can degrade or even become unstable over time. Any company that uses chemicals should have procedures in place for how chemicals are purchased, used, stored, and discarded.

Lockout-tagout: Also known as lock and tag, this is a safety procedure that is used in industry and research settings to make sure dangerous machines are properly shut off and not able to be started up again prior to the completion of maintenance or servicing work. These procedures are especially common in warehouse settings or on construction sites. Oftentimes a company will have lock and tag procedures in place, but they aren’t properly followed; this can lead to accidents. Additionally, faulty equipment may lead to dangerous safety issues.

Heights: If you’ve ever scaled a catwalk or worked on a tall building, you know that heights often come with the territory of a job. That being said, scaffolds and even ladders may lead to falling from a high enough point that individuals could be seriously injured or even killed. Fall protection information and gear should always be readily available for individuals who work at heights, and employees should receive regular training on fall safety.

Clutter: A very common workplace hazard is basic clutter. From bags being left on the floor to boxes being stacked to a great height, clutter in the workplace can cause big problems. In order to maintain good safety standards, everyone should work together to keep large obstructions from blocking aisles and fire exits.

Overused Extension Cords: In today’s tech-driven world, we often have a lot of things that require power or a charge. From cell phones to computers, we need a lot of outlets. Unfortunately, most office spaces are equipped with a limited amount of outlet space, which leads workers to use extension cords. Not only are they a tripping hazard, but overloaded electrical cords may also prove to be a fire hazard.

Forklifts: You need a special skill to operate a forklift, and it’s a skill that requires patience and concentration. When a forklift is not operated with this in mind, it becomes a hazard in the workplace. Additionally, a lack of upkeep, including regular daily checks, can contribute to forklifts being hazardous rather than helpful.

Many of us don’t think about workplace hazards–we just go about our daily jobs. By being aware of some potential hazards in the workplace and being proactive rather than reactive, we can all help prevent accidents.