Avoiding Hazards in the Workplace


Years ago health and safety didn’t really exist and even if there were any measures in place, it was a rope loosely tied around your waist when high up on tall buildings. Safety and insurance claims weren’t a big issue in days gone by.

Nowadays of course we are plagued with health and safety regulations, especially in the workplace. No, it’s not because factories and offices have become more dangerous, but the fact that more and more companies are getting insurance claims against them for every accident that takes place. Companies now have to make sure they have correct and sufficient insurance in place to cover any claims from accidents in their workplace.

Common Hazards in the workplace tend to be:

Chemicals: Poisoning, chemical burns, eye injuries and even loss of consciousness from fumes. To avoid this the correct precautions must be taken. Eye and face protection, gloves, protective workwear and correct footwear is a must along with the correct use and storage of chemicals. Also the right signage must be in place to warn all workers of the potential dangers of each chemical.

Heat Sources: Mainly burns and scalds. Extra care must be taken when working in hot environments such as industrial kitchens and food preparation factories. Not only are there numerous heat sources such as ovens, hobs and water heaters to watch out for, but there will also be many people walking back and forth, therefore increasing the risks of spillages on the floors. This in turn can lead to slips and falls, so the correct anti-slip footwear is vital along with protective overcoats and chefs’ aprons. Oven gloves must also be used to protect the hands from hot items. Extra care must be taken to wipe up spills immediately.

Machinery: Crush injuries, amputations, fractures, lacerations and eye injuries.

Machinery is heavy and tends to have multiple moving parts, so care must be taken to avoid getting loose hair or clothing trapped in the moving parts. Hair must be tied up and overalls must be worn. Also machinery must be checked and serviced on a regular basis, to avoid any loose or sharp parts coming into contact with the body. Most importantly safety boots or shoes with steel toecaps, must be worn to protect the feet from crush injuries.

Electricity: Electric shock, burns and death.

Hanging cables must be tied back and not left trailing on floors where staff and visitors can trip over them. All electrical items must be checked for wear and tear, with any damages reported immediately.The item must be unplugged and put into storage to be repaired or replaced. Under no circumstances should a damaged item be used, as risk of electrical shock or burns is extremely high.

Slips, Trips and Falls: Fractures, lacerations, sprains and strains.

Care must be taken where floors are concerned as slips and trips account for the highest number of accidents in the workplace. Worn carpets and loose mats are a huge problem and should be dealt as soon as possible to avoid injury to staff and visitors to your premises. Spillages and wet floors need to have warning signs place over them until they are either dry or are mopped up. Another important point is for anyone cleaning these slippery floors to have the correct non-slip footwear, otherwise they, themselves, are running the risk of slipping and falling.

Companies should now be supplying their staff with the correct safety wear, the correct knowledge to deal with any health and safety issues and have the right signage to warn others of the risks. These are legal requirements. This then ensures that their workers and anyone visiting remains safe in the workplace.

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