3 Unexpected Workplace Hazards

Ever wondered how a workplace hazard differs from a workplace risk?  A workplace hazard is a thing or situation that has the potential to do harm.  Lots of unsuspecting things can be classified as workplace hazards, such as placing a heavy object on a top shelf.  After all, what goes up, must come down.  The thing to keep in mind is the likelihood of such an event occurring. The probability of the box falling onto your head may change a lot, depending on the environment. In this blog, the focus is on 3 rather unsuspecting workplace hazards.

  1. Things around the office

There are obvious hazards that everyone is aware of, like “sharp, pointy things sticking out of walls”, but there are also some less obvious things worth highlighting.  For example, would you consider a door, corridor or stairwell a potential workplace hazard?  Well, it could be if it is mistaken for an exit when in fact it leads to a dead end.  In some places, there are regulations that stipulate signs need to be posted above such doors saying “no exit”.  Equally, if the door, corridor or stairwell lead to a hazardous, restricted or unsafe area, these too need to clearly identified.

  1. Ventilation

We often take the air we breath for granted. It’s so easy to assume it’s safe and poses no real threat. Thankfully, that’s almost always true. However faults in ventilation systems do happen and potentially leave workers exposed to hazardous dust, vapours, smoke, fumes, mist or gas. Many times, these pollutants are invisible and odourless, so special care needs to be taken when you consider which of these could possibly find their way into your workplace.

  1. Lighting

Lighting brings with it two kinds of workplace hazards – too much, or too little.  Like ventilation, it’s very easy to take adequate lighting for granted, but think back to the last time you drove over the top of hill and were suddenly blinded by the sun.  It’s not good. The same kind of thing can happen at the top or in the middle of stairwells, leaving you struggling to see where to next put your feet.  At the opposite end of the spectrum is not enough light.  Areas of particular interest here are stairwells or areas with unstable footing. There are many simple remedies for this problem, but first you need to identify it.

These are three less than obvious examples of workplace hazards that need to be considered as part of your overall health and safety plan.  There are many obvious other ones.  If you are reviewing your safety plan, you may find our Risk Assessment Guide helpful.  It gives you a very practical way to review all of your workplace hazards, assign risk to them and then help you plan your remedial actions.

Download your free copy of the Risk Assessment Guide

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