A comprehensive guide about different types of hazards in a workplace, how to identify them, examples of workplace hazards, how to report them, and what hazard reporting tool to use
Published 30 Jun 2023
Workplace hazards are the sources of potential harm or damage to someone or something in any work environment. It can be material or any activity that has the likelihood to cause injuries under specific conditions. It should be eliminated as soon as they are identified to prevent workplace incidents or fatalities.
Workplace hazards can be overlooked since the business is not aware of them. Identifying workplace safety issues can help prevent the likelihood of workplace incidents, accidents, or near-misses. OSHA identifies the 6 most common hazards in the workplace as follows:
A safety hazard is the most common type of hazard that is always present in a construction site. It includes unsafe working conditions that can cause injury, illness, or death. Here are the basic examples safety hazards in the workplace:
Biological hazards associated with working with animals, people, or infectious plant materials. Most at-risk workers include those who work in schools, daycare facilities, colleges and universities, hospitals, laboratories, emergency response, nursing homes, and outdoor occupations. Here are the types of biological hazards workers may be exposed to:
Browse our guide on the specific biological hazard examples along with the biohazard levels associated with them.
Chemical hazards are present when a worker is exposed to any chemical preparation in the workplace in any form (solid, liquid, or gas). Chemicals can be safer to others, but to some sensitive workers, even the most common solutions can cause illness, skin irritation, or breathing problems. Workers should be aware of the following examples chemical hazards in the workplace.
Browse here for free safety checklists you can use to manage chemical hazards
Ergonomic hazards occur when the type of work, body positions, and working conditions put a strain on the body. They are the hardest to spot since you don’t always immediately notice the strain on the body and the harm that these hazards pose. Short-term exposure may result in “sore muscles” the next day or in the days following exposure while long-term exposure can result in serious long-term illnesses. Ergonomic hazards include the following:
Learn more about ergonomics in the workplace and 10 simple ergonomic principles to follow. Also, browse for these free ergonomic assessment checklists.
Work organization hazards are stressors that cause psychosocial hazards such as tension, anxiety, or strain to workers. These can be experienced in short term (stress) or long term (strain) that is associated with workplace issues such as workload, lack of control and/or respect, etc. Here are work organization hazards examples:
Physical hazards are factors within the environment that can harm the body without necessarily touching it. Examples of physical Hazards include the following:
Employers, managers, and safety officials can reduce common workplace hazards by establishing adequate safety protocols, hazard identification procedures, and conducting regular hazard assessments.
One of the most affected part of the body when it comes to hazards are our hands. In some cases, it is also mostly responsible for triggering hazards in the workplace. Hand safety should be observed by people in the workplace to avoid injuries and accidents.
Hazard identification is a risk assessment practice that aims to identify and record safety risks and work hazards to ensure the safety of workers and personnel. Hazard identification is usually done:
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) also developed the hierarchy of controls to guide workplaces in implementing effective hazard control measures.
It is the employer’s responsibility to inform, educate, and train their employees about workplace hazards. It is paramount to ensure a safe and healthy environment not just for employees but for clients as well. Early detection of hazards and implementing safety practices will help the business in achieving its goals. It would also help:
Failure to spot hazards can often lead to serious injuries and dangers in the workplace. All safety and health checklists and programs must consistently identify and assess hazards to ensure that all workers are safe and protected.
A hazard identification procedure is done through a collaborative effort of employers and workers. A step-by-step procedure could be as follows:
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A traditional pen and paper-based hazard assessment involve carrying around numerous paperwork and a camera to manually document the identified hazard in the facility. This process involves a manual compilation of gathered data that is cumbersome and prone to errors. These hassles can be avoided with SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor) an inspection software and mobile app solutions.
With SafetyCulture users can perform safety audits and hazard assessments quickly and accurately using a mobile device. An in-app capturing of identified hazards and assigning corrective actions to appropriate persons can streamline the reporting processes to immediately address the issues.
As a general rule, workplace hazards should be reviewed and updated at least once a year, or whenever significant changes occur in the work environment or processes. This may include changes in equipment, materials, or work procedures, as well as changes in regulations or safety standards.
It is the responsibility of employers to identify and control workplace hazards. Employers have a legal and moral obligation to ensure a safe and healthy work environment for their employees. Likewise, employees should also be encouraged and trained to increase their awareness of hazards and how to prevent them.
The role of management in addressing workplace hazards is to establish procedures and policies that employees can follow. They should also promptly investigate and take action to address reported hazards, as well as provide necessary training and resources to increase workers’ knowledge and enable them to protect themselves.
Workplace hazards can have a variety of negative effects on both employees and employers. Some of these effects include increased chances of injuries or illnesses, reduced employee morale, legal consequences, and damage to reputation. This emphasizes the importance of proactively identifying and mitigating these hazards before they significantly impact and interrupt operations.
Improve hazard identification process using hazard identification checklist by SafetyCulture and capture hazards on mobile devices anytime, anywhere even offline. Analyze safety incidents in real-time, assign corrective actions, and send reports immediately right after the inspection with a single tap of a finger. Keep the data secured but accessible to the members of the organization with unlimited cloud storage. Get started by downloading these free hazard identification checklist and modifying them according to workplace needs.
Jona Tarlengco is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2018. She usually writes about safety and quality topics, contributing to the creation of well-researched articles. Her 5-year experience in one of the world’s leading business news organisations helps enrich the quality of the information in her work.
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