Some workplaces are full of hazards. There’s always room for you to fall, slip or get paper cuts and electrical shocks. And that’s not even including the more severe dangers like heavy machinery and toxic chemicals.
In 2020, slips, trips, and falls were the most frequent cause of serious workplace injuries, resulting in 159 significant injuries in Singapore.
Exposure to extreme temperature was the source of the least severe major workplace injuries. It is vital to take the necessary precautions to avoid hazards at work, no matter how big or small they may be.
Type of Hazards and Examples
There are many different types of workplace hazards, but some of the most common include:
Any substance or object that has the potential to cause harm to your physical well-being. It is the most common type of hazard found in the workplace.
It can include everything from electrical wiring to detached carpeting. Items such as electrical equipment, sharp tools, and heavy machinery are some examples of physical threats.
These are any harmful substances that can enter your body through inhalation, skin contact, or ingestion. Common chemical hazards include cleaning supplies, pesticides, and asbestos.
Toxicologists are becoming increasingly concerned about the potential health effects of long-term exposure to low levels of chemicals in the workplace.
But, what is toxicology after all? It is the study of the adverse effects of chemicals on living organisms.
These are any hazardous agents from living things, like bacteria, viruses, and fungi. They are often found in healthcare settings but can also be present in other workplaces, like food service or daycare facilities. Biological hazards can cause infections and diseases.
It is any physical force that can cause harm to people or property. Workplace violence can include everything from verbal threats to actual assaults.
It is a severe issue that affects businesses of all sizes. From 2009 to 2016, there were 19 cases of workplace violence in Singapore.
The term ‘ergonomic’ refers to the study of how people interact with their work environment.
Ergonomic hazards can cause musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) like carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis. Poor ergonomics in the workplace can also lead to mental health problems like stress and anxiety.
Tips on Hazard Prevention and Control
Controls that are effective safeguard workers from hazardous situations at work; aid in preventing injuries, minimizing or impeding safety and health threats, and assisting employers in providing sound and healthy working environments.
Identifying Control Options
It is imperative to conduct a thorough risk assessment before taking steps to reduce workplace hazards. Before implementing any control measures, employers should consult with their employees about the viability and effectiveness of each option.
There is much information available for companies looking for ways to assess risks.
Workplace Risk Assessments
A workplace risk assessment is how employers identify hazards and assess their risks to workers. A workplace risk assessment aims to identify control measures to eliminate or minimize the risks.
Many different methods can be used to conduct a workplace risk assessment. One popular method is the hierarchy of controls, which is a system for ranking control measures from most to least effective.
Develop a Hazard Control Policy
Employers should develop a written hazard control policy after conducting a risk assessment and identifying viable control measures.
This policy should outline the procedures used to eliminate or minimize workplace hazards. The policy should also address how employees will be trained on the new guidelines.
Implementing Hazard Controls:
Once a hazard control policy has been developed, employers should implement the controls as soon as possible.
Safety protocols should be put into place before work begins, and employees should be trained on how to use them properly. Employers must regularly review policies and procedures to ensure that they are effective.
Monitoring and Evaluation:
Employers should monitor the workplace regularly to ensure that hazard controls are being used properly.
Regular monitoring and evaluation are essential for maintaining a safe and healthy workplace. They should also evaluate the effectiveness of the rules regularly.
If any problems are identified, corrective action should be taken immediately.
Controlling Workplace Hazards
Workers have an absolute right to a safe and healthy workplace. Employers have a responsibility to provide their employees with a safe work environment.
But, what does that mean exactly? It means that employers must take steps to identify and control any potential workplace hazards. Below are a few methods that make a difference in controlling workplace hazards:
The best way to control a hazard is to eliminate it. It can be done by removing the threat from the workplace or replacing it with a safer alternative.
For example, if you’re using a chemical known to be harmful, you can switch to a less toxic option.
If it’s not possible to eliminate a hazard, you can try to substitute it with a less hazardous one. For example, you can use a hand saw instead of a power saw. The idea is to use the least dangerous method possible to get the job done.
These are changes that can be made to the work environment or equipment to reduce exposure to a hazard.
For example, installing ventilation or cooling systems on machinery. There are other types of engineering controls, but these are some of the most common.
These changes can be made to work practices or policies to reduce exposure to a hazard.
For example, having employees take breaks more often or providing them with training on how to use the equipment safely.
Personal Protective Equipment: It is the last line of defense against a hazard. Personal protective equipment (PPE) includes gloves, respirators, and earplugs. It is important to remember that PPE should only be used as a last resort.
Maintaining a Clean and Well-Organized Workplace
One of the best ways to control workplace hazards is to keep your work area clean and well-organized. A cluttered work area can result in accidents and injuries. It can also make it more strenuous to control hazards that are present.
Whether you’re an employer or an employee, it’s essential to be aware of the hazards that are present in the workplace.
By taking steps to control these hazards, you can help create a safe and healthy work environment for everyone. When the environment is safe and secure, the workplace’s productivity will improve. So, it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Read more blog: Ways to guard yourself against asbestos exposure