Most Common Workplaces’ Hidden Hazards Everyone Should Know
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Workplace safety isn’t only the responsibility of the employer; it must be a shared obligation by everyone in the workforce. Employees and employers need to fully commit to the rules and guidelines to make sure that no one gets hurt while working and that optimum productivity is reached. However, despite this, a lot of people still find it easy to overlook the dangers in their working environment, especially if the threats aren’t that obvious.
As a guide, here’s a quick list of the most common overlooked hazards in workplaces and what you can do to prevent them.
Insufficient respiratory protection
Air quality is one of the most overlooked hazards at work, particularly those workplaces that emit dust and fumes during production. The worst part is that since these fumes aren’t visible, a lot of employers don’t see the imminent dangers they pose to the health of their workers. This makes them too relaxed about implementing stricter rules when it comes to wearing protective gears.
Insufficient respiratory protection at work has a lot of detrimental effects on the body. Poor air quality can make it harder for you to breathe and this can affect your performance at work. In some cases, it can even lead to sanitation issues and several respiratory problems.
The presence of clutter at work isn’t only an eyesore; it can also lower your focus and productivity level. When you are surrounded by mess, you’ll find it hard to concentrate on your tasks at hand. You’ll feel irritable and you’ll be blindsided by the physical dangers of your working environment.
Wet and unclean floors, for example, can cause slips and falls. Dirty light fixtures, on the other hand, can make it difficult for employees to safely complete their tasks. Waste and recyclable materials should be disposed of regularly to make sure that they don’t become favorable breeding grounds for pests. If possible, commit to recycling materials to make your workplace more sustainable.
Clutter can decrease your workspace, too. You’ll have to twist and strain your body to fit the limited area you are working in. As a result, you get more prone to injuries.
Cabinets and drawers
Cabinets are essential in keeping your workplace’s files properly organized. Despite their benefits, cabinets and drawers carry potential hazards to every employee, especially if they aren’t properly secured to the wall. When left opened, they can tip over and the results are potentially serious. They can also cause tripping hazards for anyone who’s unaware of the dangers of leaving drawers open.
As a solution, it’s a good idea to check if all the cabinets in your workplace are properly attached to the wall. You can also consider posting gentle reminders to always keep drawers tucked in to avoid hurting anybody.
For people closely working with computers, it’s easy to get carried away with tasks that they forget to relax their eyes once in a while. This can result in decreased vision, eye fatigue and even dryness.
One good remedy for this is to take frequent breaks. The 20-20-20 rule is a helpful guide for you to know when it’s time to take your eyes off your computer screens. After 20 minutes of working on the computer, take a 20-second break from the screen and stare at something that’s 20 feet away. You can set up an alarm so you’ll get reminded once it’s time. It can also help if you blink frequently while you are working to ensure that your eyes won’t dry up.
Lack of hazard communication
When there’s not enough communication about hidden hazards, the risks to the people exposed to them are greatly increased. Take, for example, one of your co-workers. If he’ll be stocking a container of chemicals or even a bleaching agent somewhere in your working area, he needs to let everyone know what it is, where it is and what it can do to the body. He also needs to properly mark it to avoid confusion. This is a strict rule that should be implemented in factories that manufacture chemicals.
Accidents can happen any time and any place. Because of this, it’s important that you take one step ahead and be prepared for them in case they happen. Aside from reducing these workplace hazards, you should also stock up on first aid kits and have a dedicated place you and your co-workers can go to for immediate treatment. Prompt medical attention is one of the best ways to reduce the debilitating effects of accidents. In some cases, it can even save lives.
You can’t always prevent accidents from happening but there are things you can do to minimize them. One good way is to build awareness. The more you are aware of these hazards, the more protected you’ll be.
Simon has been a long-time writer about industrial safety. He has covered a wide range of subjects that are geared towards promoting employees’ well-being at work, including writing the best safety boots reviews.