Preventing Workplace Hazards And How To Identify Them

Workplace hazards arise in nearly every workplace. We understand it can feel overwhelming trying to mitigate all the potential risks that you might encounter as an employer or an employee. However, Business Kitz have put together this handy blog that will assist in risk aversion and provide you with tips to keep your employees safe. In this blog, we will also explore the different kinds of hazards you might encounter, as well as how to identify and prevent them.

What are workplace hazards?

Before you are able to effectively avoid workplace hazards, it is important that you familiarise yourself with the different types of hazards that are commonly observed in workplaces. It is also essential that you develop an understanding of how these potential hazards may impact your business and staff. Below we have compiled some of the most common types of workplace hazards:

Safety 

Safety hazards refer to any potential dangers that may impact the personal safety of workers. These must be eradicated to ensure your workplace is a safe space, free of potential harms or obstacles. Potential safety hazards will change based on the workplace environment, so it is important you consider your relevant industry when collating potential risks. For example, in an office, it is important to ensure that there aren’t any cords on the floor that can potentially cause falls/trips. However, hazards in a mining field may be far more concerned with the structure of mine shafts or winding operations.

Physical

Physical hazards refer to potential dangers that can cause harm to workers without them necessarily being in close proximity. This may include uncomfortable work places that induce stress as a result of an extremely unpleasant temperature, noise, and confined spaces. 

Biological

Biological hazards refer to when a worker is exposed to biological agents such as bacterial, insect bites, viruses in the workplace that could lead to injury. These may be uncommon in traditional offices but are more relevant in the healthcare industry and outdoor work environments.

Chemical 

Similar to biological hazards, chemical hazards are when workers are exposed to chemical agents such as vapours.

Ergonomic

Ergonomic hazards refer to factors that may have a long lasting impact on an individual’s health, but does not appear immediately. Long-term impacts from these kinds of hazards may include physical injury from repetitive heavy lifting or incorrect desk heights.

Work Environment  

Work environment hazards can have an impact on a worker’s mental health. These potential risks can arise from stress, employee mistreatment, workplace conflict and harassment. For a more detailed explanation of factors that may be detrimental to the mental health of employees, have a look at this Business Kitz’s blog.

How To Identify and Prevent Workplace Hazards?

Planning

In order to ensure that you are able to prevent any hazards in the future, it is essential that you create a plan as to how and when you will identify these hazards and implement safety protocols. This requires a comprehensive understanding of the legalities behind worker safety and conducting a thorough audit of your workplace. Fair Work Australia provides regular updates on potential safety hazards that may concern employers and employees, as seen with the recent COVID-19 pandemic. If any of these requirements are unclear, our sister company, Legal Kitz provides legal services at an affordable price to ensure safety compliance. 

Compile Information

It is a good idea to compile existing knowledge about specific hazards that your industry may be prone to. Conducting research about previous scenarios within your industry is a helpful first step. From there, you will be able to analyse the likelihood of something being hazardous in the future and how to best prevent it from happening in your own workplace. This can be done by making modifications to the equipment or the area itself. Furthermore, workers should be provided with periodic training on how to best protect themselves and adhere to safety standards.

Feedback From Workers

In situations where the management team may not be physically present in the workplace location, it is important to collect feedback from workers in regards to potential hazards you may not have already been accounted for. Employees have the best insight in providing a realistic perspective on the hazards that they come across. This will also build trust among the workforce as they will recognize that their safety is being prioritised and active measures are being taken.

Record Incidents

Keeping track of past incidents is extremely important for building a profile of the different kinds of hazards and for legal purposes. Failing to adhere to safety regulations could have legal implications. Therefore, having a record of this will ensure that these hazards can be prevented as and when possible.

Legal Advice

If you require guidance in ensuring your business is meeting safety compliance, our sister company Legal Kitz can assist you. To arrange a FREE consultation with one of their highly experienced solicitors, click here today, or contact us at info@legalkitz.com.au or 1300 988 954. To access our extensive collection of the best legal, commercial and employment documents, check out Business Kitz subscription service, today!

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