10 Hazards in the Workplace: How To Identify And Assess Them

Safeguard employees by conducting a comprehensive evaluation of risks and hazards in the workplace. Identifying risks, and types of hazards accurately, while staying vigilant of workplace conditions is essential in maintaining the safety of workers. We’ll cover 10 potential examples of risks and hazards to be aware of around your workplace, keep a look out and stay vigilant for your safety. 

Identifying Hazards in the Workplace

To identify these hazards and help prevent them in the workplace, we recommend a simple, yet effective process of observation:

Your workplace inspection – walk around the workplace:
  • observing the way in which tasks are performed
  • notice pathways and the layout of the workplace in question
  • familiarise yourself with workplace equipment

Very quickly you should have a clear idea of the existing or potential risks and hazards in your workplace. Now onto assessing workplace hazards.

How to Assess Potential Hazards Within the Workplace

After the initial workplace inspection, you’ll need to do some research and conduct a hazard assessment. Ideally, locate your accident book or your company incident records to give you a concrete idea of the hazards and risks associated with roles, machinery and jobs. Particularly focusing on recurring accidents or injuries relative to a specific task, machinery or area. This will allow you to quickly assess the level of risk associated with the hazard. You could categorise risks into low, medium and high risks, depending on their recurrence.

Further investigation is required to understand the causes and where the weaknesses lie in safety procedures for the task, machinery or job. Ensure this information is logged correctly, speaking to victims for more information if necessary.

Further Help on Identifying and Assessing Workplace Hazards

For medium to high-risk hazards, we recommend prioritising a revised safety procedure of operation and further health and safety training specific to the task or machinery for all those involved. For further training and guidance on conducting an assessment of hazards and risks within your workplace, our online risk assessment training course could provide a compliant resource for keeping your workplace safe. For those exposed to regular risks within the workplace, a dynamic risk assessment will provide vital insight into the potential dynamic risks associated with certain roles and how best to avoid and react to these risks. Implement safe work procedures with new and improved control measures where necessary to ensure safety in the workplace. Education and training are crucial in promoting awareness among all staff members, enabling individuals to practice the process of hazard identification and effortlessly implement it on a daily basis to prevent accidents.

10 Hazards in the Workplace

For clarity on potential hazards in the workplace covered above here are some examples of risks and hazards that can be found in the workplace. These may not all be relevant to your business however ensure you are aware of the ones that are! They may not always be obvious this is where we recommend a thorough, initial workplace inspection. Here’s our quick and easy breakdown of common hazards around the workplace:

Slips, trips, and falls

Slips, trips, and falls are the leading cause of workplace injuries and illnesses. They can cause a variety of injuries, including sprains, strains, fractures, and head injuries. Train employees and all staff members to recognise and react to physical hazards like loose wires, spillages or abandoned items that may cause accidents leading to injury.

Electrical hazards

Electrical hazards can cause shocks, burns, and fires. They can occur when workers come into contact with live wires, faulty electrical equipment, or sparks from welding or grinding. Ensure workers are trained in safe working practices when it comes to electrical appliances and hazards through comprehensive training.

Machinery and tool hazards

Machinery and tool hazards can cause cuts, bruises, fractures, and amputations. They can occur when workers operate machinery without proper training or safety gear, or when they make contact with moving parts.

Falls from heights

Falls from heights are a serious safety hazard, and can cause serious injuries or death. They can occur when workers are working on scaffolding, ladders, or roofs, or when they trip and fall. For those working at heights, it’s essential to provide workers with safety equipment and sufficient training in working at heights.

Hazardous chemicals

Chemical hazards can cause a variety of health problems, including respiratory problems, skin irritation, and cancer. They can occur when workers are exposed to chemicals without proper ventilation or safety gear, or when they handle chemicals incorrectly. Ensure staff are well trained before handling chemicals or if chemicals are stored in the workplace.

Confined spaces

For those working in confined spaces, the dangers lie in the likelihood of a lack of oxygen, dangerous gases or fumes, or difficulty of escape/exit. Workers should only enter confined spaces having undergone specific confined spaces training, under the supervision of a competent person, and should always wear proper safety gear, including respiratory protection.

Ergonomic hazards

Ergonomic hazards can cause musculoskeletal injuries, such as back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and shoulder pain. They can occur when workers are required to sit or stand for long periods of time, or when they are required to use their hands and arms in awkward positions. Ensure staff have access to supportive equipment and ensure workspaces are ergonomically set up.

Additionally, ensure proper training is provided if individuals will be expected to carry out any heavy lifting tasks as part of their job role. Lifting items with the correct manual handling training will help prevent injury.

Noise hazards

Noise hazards can cause hearing loss, tinnitus, and stress if loud and continuous. They can occur when workers are exposed to loud noise levels for extended periods of time. Ensure adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) is provided along with noise awareness training.

Biological hazards

Biological hazards can cause infectious diseases, such as hepatitis B, HIV, and tuberculosis. They can occur when workers are exposed to blood or other bodily fluids, or when they are exposed to contaminated materials. Ensure all staff know how to prevent and control viral and bacterial infections and infectious diseases.

Extreme weather conditions

Extreme weather conditions, such as heat, cold, and lightning, can pose a safety hazard to workers. Workers should take precautions to stay warm or cool, protect themselves from lightning, and stay out of dangerous areas during storms.

Who Should Carry Out a Risk Assessment of the Workplace?

Legally required by law, every employer must carry out a risk assessment on the work carried out by all employees. If your organisation consists of more than five employees all assessment results must be recorded detailing the employees or task roles that are at a higher risk. For further support and training speak to us and see how ProCompliance can help you and your business reach health and safety compliance.