Beware of These Hidden Hazards in Your Workplace

Beware of These Hidden Hazards in Your Workplace

27th January 2020

Hidden hazards hardly pose an immediate threat, and often tend to be overlooked easily. However, they can strike at any moment and can be as dangerous as the obvious hazards. Identifying these hazards is key to eliminating or addressing them accordingly. Here are some of the most common hazards every employer and safety officer should beware of.

1.    Poor Lighting
Lack of proper lighting is a common workplace hazard often assumed. Some facilities have very high ceilings, making it challenging to get the right amount of light to all the areas. Besides, some machines and structures could block the light, forming ‘dark spots’ in some parts of the room. These dark spots increase the risk of people walking into dangerous areas or tripping. Consider adding additional lighting features to any area with insufficient lighting throughout the facility. Ensure to use appropriate safety ladders during the installation to enhance your safety. 

2.    Improper Ergonomics
The concept of ergonomics is probably not news to you. Perhaps you’re aware of the importance of a good posture, moving & stretching more often, lifting objects properly, and proper set up of our work stations. While it may seem to be common sense, repetitive motion and improper bending and lifting are still among the common causes of workplace injuries. You need to train your workforce and encourage them to practice positioning their entire bodies in the healthiest, least fatiguing way and also make the workstation fit properly.

3.    Bacteria and Viruses in Offices
According to a March 2018 research story in the UK’s Independent, offices are full of bacteria. The research shows that the average desk has about 400 times more germs than a toilet seat. More than 66 per cent of office workers are at risk of various illnesses due to dirty desks. But what, exactly, contributes to these statistics? The keyboard, mouse, and desk phone features the highest density of illness-inducers. Other objects frequently touched by multiple people, including water tap in the office kitchen are also popular congregation spots.
Viruses are also not an exception. They can spread throughout the office within hours. Communal areas like the break room or kitchen are popular contamination zones, especially on object frequently touched, including microwave ovens and coffee pot handles. Hand washing and disinfecting surfaces touched often are the most effective ways to prevent most bacterial and viral illnesses.

4.    Poor Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
Poor IAQ can result in a plethora of health issues such as respiratory problems, rashes, eye irritation, headaches, and sinus. Some of the common causes of poor IAQ include:
●    Too hot or too cold temperatures
●    Dampness and mould
●    Toxic cleaners and air fresheners
●    Poor HVAC quality and maintenance
●    Off-gassing from furniture, paint, and carpets
●    Second-hand smoke
●    Outdoor traffic smoke and exhaust
Employers and safety officers need to ensure there’s enough ventilation and comfortable humidity and temperature in the workplace. They should also advise their workers to be on the lookout and report any visible leaks, unpleasant smells, and water spots.

5.    Extension Cords
Extension cords are convenient for transferring electrical power to areas not easily accessible in your worksites. However, they can also be a significant safety hazard to any individual traversing the area. They can result in electrocution, surge hazards, and tripping hazards. They should be avoided, if at all possible, or run safely and covered to prevent possibilities of tripping over.