Understanding Workplace Hazards and How to Identify Them
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA is the result of the 1970 same name act designed to keep workers safe while in the workplace. As part of their mission, the administration works to educate both employers and employees of the different work hazards that exist. Let’s go over these different types of workplace hazards and how you can identify them.
Safety hazards are the most common type of workplace hazards workers will encounter. A safety hazard is anything that provides an unsafe working condition. Some common safety hazards you may come across include the following:
- Spills on the floor or other obstructions can cause someone to trip and fall.
- Hazards related to working from great heights. This will include working with equipment such as ladders or scaffolds, working on a roof, or working from an elevated area.
- Unguarded machinery or machinery that is in operation or is not being used as is intended can cause injury to an individual.
- Electrical hazards can be encountered through exposed and improper wiring.
- Working in confined spaces can also bring with it opportunities for injury.
- Machinery-related hazards such as injuries related to boilers, forklifts, and other heavy-duty machines.
Chemical hazards exist in environments where chemicals are routinely used or where chemicals may be encountered. These types of hazards can bring with them a range of injuries resulting from mild to serious. Chemical hazards can result from the following:
- Exposure to cleaning products, especially harsh cleaning products that release vapors.
- Workplace duties that create exposure to vapors or fumes, for example, welding or mixing chemicals.
- Working around flammable material including solvents, gasoline, and explosive chemicals.
- Working with or around pesticides.
Biological hazards are hazards that exist when you are working with people, animals, and infectious plants. You could be exposed to biological hazards if you work in a school, nursing home, emergency room or hospital, and even in outdoor environments. Things that may cause a biological hazard include the following:
- Exposure to blood and other bodily fluids
- Exposure to bacteria and viruses.
- Exposure to fungi and mold from natural and artificial environments.
- Bites from insects and other animals.
- Droppings from birds and other animals
Physical hazards relate to any work conditions that take a toll on your physical body. These types of hazards do not need to come in direct contact with your body to hurt you. Examples of physical hazards can include the following:
- Exposure to ionizing and non-ionizing radiation.
- High exposure to UV rays or sunlight.
- Exposure to extreme temperatures (hot and cold).
- A work environment that exposes you to loud noises consistently and frequently.
Ergonomic hazards exist because of work duties that put a strain on your body. These types of hazards are not easy to identify because the issues resulting from ergonomic hazards develop over time. These hazards can often result in muscle strain in the short term, but also serious injury over the long term. Conditions that lead to these hazards include the following:
- Job duties that require frequent lifting.
- Repetitive movements, especially ones that require a lot of force.
- Awkward movements, especially if these movements are done frequently.
- Workstations that do not have ergonomic chairs or even desks.
- Working conditions that require you to be in awkward positions for extended periods.
Have an Experienced Attorney by Your Side
If you have suffered an injury in The Bronx or dealt with chronic pain that you feel was the result of a workplace hazard, you don’t have to suffer alone. Reach out to one of our experienced personal injury lawyers to schedule your free consultation today. At the Kohn law firm, our experienced attorneys can help you understand your options and fight for the compensation you deserve.