Workplaces have the potential to be quite dangerous, even if you work in an office environment. From loose cabling to slippery floors, there are lots of potential hazards in the workplace that could cause serious injuries to staff. To ensure all workers can perform their duties at work safely, knowing about the main workplace hazards and how to prevent them is vital. This article will go over the most common hazards found in the workplace and offer some tips to help prevent them from occurring.
The Risk Of Falls In The Workplace
Falls happen when you’re working at a height, such as on a ladder, and you lose your footing which causes you to fall. Depending on the height, it’s a potentially life-threatening hazard so it’s crucial to address this risk before it turns into an actual problem. Falls are statistically the biggest cause of workplace fatalities – so it’s a very serious hazard to contend with.
In some cases, fall hazards are indirect, which means a slip or a trip hazard could result in a fall. That’s why it’s an absolute necessity to maintain a safe work environment to avoid any of the three hazards. Some of the best ways to create a safe workplace for employees is to remove any hazards such as things which are broken, loose, or which are obstructing walkways.
How To Prevent Them
There are a few different ways to mitigate the risk of falls in the workplace, depending on the type of work being undertaken. For example, using appropriate safety equipment is essential when working at height, particularly when it’s on tall ladders or scaffolding. Understanding ladder safety is another important consideration to ensure staff perform their duties at height safely.
Another way to prevent falls is by installing barriers or other safety devices to prevent falls from occurring in the first place. As mentioned, doing all you can to avoid trips or slips is also an excellent way to mitigate the risk of falls in the workplace.
The Risk Of Slips In The Workplace
One of the most common workplace accidents stems from slips, which can happen for a number of reasons. A slip happens when your feet no longer grip the floor’s surface, causing a loss of balance and leading to a fall. It’s usually the result of a liquid that hasn’t been cleaned up, but there are other causes such as inappropriate footwear, loose slip mats or an uneven surface.
Whether it’s water left over from cleaning the floors, or fuel spills which have been missed, any liquid on the floors can be a slip hazard to employees. Some spills can be difficult to spot too and can lead to serious accidents and injuries. Slip hazards can cause a significant risk to not only internal employees but also customers and other external parties on your premises too.
How To Prevent Them
There are many ways to prevent slip hazards from causing accidents in the workplace, but the solution largely depends on the type of environment you work in. For example, if you have any fuel like diesel on-site, it’s vital that they are properly stored to prevent spillages. You can also use drip trays to collect any dripping liquids from falling onto the floor. Other ways to prevent slips include using anti-slip mats on the floor to promote stronger grip or maintaining a strict cleaning schedule to clear away spillages before a slip occurs.
If your business stores fuel on its premises, controlling fuel spills is of high importance to help avoid slips and other workplace hazards. Investing in high-quality spill kits and absorbent equipment can help to effectively clean fuel spills as soon as possible. If other spills occur on the floor, such as with water, wet floor signs can also help to signal to employees where there is a spillage so they can avoid the area.
The Risk Of Trips In The Workplace
Trips are another workplace hazard to look out for and they generally occur when someone catches their foot on something which causes them to fall over. It’s a hazard that poses a serious risk of injury, as the person falling could hit their head on the way down. Common causes of trips include loose cabling or poorly organised stock or resources in the workplace.
In office environments, computer cabling can pose a significant issue if not organised properly. The same goes for many other items in the workplace that aren’t effectively organised. Simply becoming lazy and carelessly leaving boxes, files, and stock on the floor where it shouldn’t be can cause a trip hazard. Items that are stored improperly in stacks on top of each other are also at risk of falling on employees and causing injury.
How To Prevent Them
A good way to prevent the hazard of trips is to establish excellent housekeeping principles in the workplace. That means regularly inspecting flooring to ensure it’s in good working condition with no frays. It’s also vital to perform cable management if you have lots of wires or cables at work. Any trailing or loose cables should be covered with cover strips or cable tidies to keep them in order.
As part of HSE guidance and law, employers are responsible for protecting the health, safety, and welfare of their employees. Part of this is to assess risks in the workplace and eliminate them or determine how to properly control them. For any health and safety risks which can be controlled, employers must provide information about such risks to help train and instruct their employees.