Types of Workplace Hazards

There are different types of workplace hazards, and it’s best to be prepared with a plan of action focusing on the most common and most dangerous. Obviously, every workplace should have a first aid kit and an automated external defibrillator, but bandages and an AED won’t help in every situation. The best course of action is prevention and training.

General Safety Hazards

Safety hazards are fairly minimal if you work in an office. However, if any part of your job includes machinery (such as forklifts), confined spaces, open wiring or climbing ladders, someone at the job site should have additional safety training. You don’t have to have a medical degree to take courses such as advanced first aid or confined space rescue training. You just need a willingness to learn and to jump into action if needed.

Biological and Chemical Hazards

Unless you work alone in a bubble, you are exposed to biological hazards. Viruses and bacteria make up a large part of this category. In addition, plants, animals and bodily fluids can all potentially cause harm. The best way to combat everyday biological dangers is through scrupulous handwashing practices. Chemical dangers, on the other hand, can be as common as glue, paint or cleaning products that you might come into contact with regularly. This category also includes more caustic substances such as certain metals, pesticides and acids. If you get these materials on your skin, they will require a substantial flush time to remove the irritant.

Stress and Strain Hazards

Injuries in this category are caused by repetitive or unusual muscle use, heavy lifting or overwork. The best solution is prevention. Use ergonomically designed chairs, standing desks and back support braces to help mitigate overuse injuries.
Some worksites are inherently dangerous while others are comparatively safe, but all jobs have hazards. Keeping yourself and your employees safe starts with conducting an evaluation of all possible workplace dangers and preparing accordingly.

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