The Biggest Workplace Risks

Written by on January 4, 2013 in Career - No comments | Print this page

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man-with-back-painBetween 5,000 and 7,000 workers die each year directly through injuries sustained at the workplace. In addition, more than five million end up with various degrees of debilitating injuries. Most of these tragedies can be avoided by being alert and having good safety measures in place.

Human error is a large factor when it comes to accidents at work, but so are shortcuts and non-compliance by management. Once a person is injured, they often can be rehabilitated and return to their jobs. The point is, however, not to get injured in the first place.

Most Common Hazards

In the top five of the risks workers face at the job are chemicals, electrical injury, slips and falls, being hit by objects and repetitive use of limbs and digits. There are many other risks involving severe injuries or even death but the majority involves those five factors. The question of why workers are exposed to such conditions where they could get injured begs to be answered.

Employers can certainly take many steps to minimize the chances of injury to their employees. Governmental agencies are also active in overseeing the safety of the workplace. With all the monitoring factions trying to present a safe work environment, it is still often impossible to escape injury.

Chemical Injuries

When people are injured by chemicals, it is usually through the gases these chemicals emit. Quite frequently, when two or more chemicals are mixed, noxious vapors cause serious harm to lungs and airways. Depending on what types of chemicals are involved, those working with them or even in the vicinity can experience not only respiratory illnesses but also severe burns.

Few businesses are totally safe from chemical exposure. Maintaining a building or the process of manufacturing often requires the use of some type of chemicals. It is imperative that workers are protected from directly coming in contact with such substances through the skin or by inhalation.

Electrical Injuries

These are easily avoided by keeping sharp eyes out for live wires or frayed and damaged electrical cords. Machinery should be inspected once a month to test all electrical appurtenances to ensure that they are safe. Strict rules must be enforced to have every machine and every tool disconnected from power before inspecting it or working on it.

Slips And Falls

One of the easiest ways to keep people from tripping, slipping and falling is to have your place of business very clean. Any spills must be cleaned up immediately. Do not have obstacles standing in areas where workers have to walk or stand.

What Can The Worker Do

The employee who comes to work well rested and alert has the best chance of leaving for home the same healthy way he arrived at work. If he or she sees a co-worker who is not alert or attentive to the task they need to perform, it may be prudent to speak with them. Although no one likes to get someone else in trouble, depending on the type of job that person has, it may be saving lives to speak with the immediate supervisor to find out what can be done to help.

This is especially important if the job involves something that places a number of others at risk as well. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to take some time off until the physical or emotional health permits caution and accuracy once again.

This is a guest post.  This was an article by Stacey at Rivo Software – a world class supplier of quality audit software to demonstrate compliance and help to reduce risk in the workplace. 

Image courtesy of graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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