With the switch to remote working due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us may not be thinking about physical workplaces. Yet with workers hoping to return to work, we need to think about safety.
It’s a wider issue that goes beyond being COVID secure. There were 2.8 million injuries in private workplaces in 2018.
Workers can avoid many injuries and work hazards with preparation and care. As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to provide a safe working environment.
Read on to learn which physical hazards you need to prevent at work.
These can be caused by any exposure to live parts of an electrical system. Workers risk everything from burns and electric shocks to explosions.
Electrocutions were responsible for 8.5 percent of construction worker deaths in 2018.
Wet surroundings increase the risk since water conducts electricity. This can be an issue if your workplace is somewhere prone to flooding. Check electrical cords and wiring for faults regularly.
This might not immediately sound like a hazard until you realize the implication. In confined spaces, oxygen levels are lower. This can cause asphyxiation if toxic gases build up.
These gases can lead to health problems for the worker. They can also cause explosions or fires.
Confined spaces may not be an issue for all workplaces but you should be aware of them. Even a badly ventilated cubicle can cause health problems for the worker using it.
Not all chemicals are dangerous. After all, sodium chloride is otherwise known as salt.
Yet some workplaces do deal with toxic and dangerous chemicals. Even hairdressers and cleaners use hazardous chemicals daily.
Side effects include respiratory problems, sickness, headaches, dizziness, and even cancer. Chemicals can also become fire hazards.
Pay attention to the correct storage and handling of chemicals at all times. Sulfuric acid hazards are especially dangerous due to the nature of sulfuric acid.
Watch out for trip hazards. These include loose carpets, exposed power cords, spills, badly-maintained furniture.
All of these hazards can lead to trips and falls. They’re also avoidable by keeping them covered or out of the way.
Safety hazards also include unsafe ladders or badly maintained tools. If an item can’t do the job it’s designed to do, then replace it immediately.
You should also check that all machinery has the necessary guards. This prevents loose clothing or hair from falling into the machinery. Workers might otherwise be dragged into machinery which could cause injury or death.
Keep Your Workers Safe
All these physical hazards are avoidable if you follow health and safety guidance. Carry out regular checks to ensure you plan for potential hazards. This means they never become an issue in the first place.
Plan for the correct training for your staff. They need to know what to look out for, and also to ensure they’re not doing anything dangerous themselves. Employee safety is paramount so it should be a top priority.
Want to keep your workers and workplace safe? Check out our business articles to keep up-to-date with the latest guidance for workplace safety and security.