Every workplace has hazards, but industrial and warehouse environments tend to have more hazards than the average business. Employers have a legal responsibility to protect their employees’ health and safety, and that begins with identifying the hazards they may face throughout the day.
The Categories of Workplace Hazards
There are endless potential hazards in the workplace, but generally speaking, all major hazards fall into one of four categories:
- Physical hazards: These are the most common hazards. They include anything that has the potential to cause bodily harm like slips, trips and falls, cuts, vibrations, falling objects, vehicle accidents, etc.
- Ergonomic hazards: This category includes anything that can expose the musculoskeletal system to long-term damage like repetitive motions, awkward body positioning, lifting, exposure to extremely hot or cold objects, etc.
- Chemical hazards: Any hazardous substance that employees may come in contact throughout the day, including the solvents used to clean up messes to prevent spills.
- Biological hazards: Exposure to bacteria, viruses, mold, mildew and fungus that can cause adverse health problems ranging from diseases to chronic conditions.
Identifying Major Hazards
The only way to develop effective safety measures is to know what hazards your employees and visitors will face on-site. There are several ways to identify hazards at your workplace:
- Survey the team: Even if you are tackling several identification methods, take the time to ask your team about hazards they face on the job. If anyone knows the risks involved with a job, it’s the person doing it.
- Safety audits: Regular safety audits not only help ensure the team is working in a safe manner, they also help identify new hazards as they arise.
- Job safety checks: it is critical to know the tasks involved with every job on the floor so that work hazards can be identified, and steps can be taken to reduce risk of injury.
- Injury and illness history: Study the types of injuries and illnesses reported and note patterns of frequency, regularity and severity.
As you work to identify top hazards in your workplace, remember to keep the four categories in mind. Some hazards are not easy to identify because they may not cause immediate harm, but over time, they do lead to illness or injury. It is also important to remember to continually identify and evaluate new potential hazards.
When it comes to safety, knowledge is power. If you work to identify hazards in the top categories, you can develop effective policies, plans and procedures to protect your workforce.
If you interested in cultivating a culture of safety, it is important to focus on the hiring process to reduce risk. At Southern Point Staffing, safety is always a priority when we recruit for our partners. Don’t let new hires or temporary staff put your team at risk. Contact the recruiting experts at SPS today to learn how we can keep you fully staffed with an eye for safety.