Workplace Safety - Workplace Hazards


Keeping a safe workplace needs employers to pick out hazardous and risky issues and take necessary steps to reduce their chance of occurrences. Each industry has its own set of hazards, but there are workplace hazards that are general across organizations. The hazards in this module are examples of usual hazards.

By recognizing and predicting hazards, employers can protect employees from injuries and hazards and keep them safe. The terms Hazard and Risk are frequently used mutually but this simple example explains the difference between the two.

Workplace Hazards by Computer Workstations

Computer workstations may seem non-dangerous, but monotonous movement injuries such as repetitive stress injury and muscular skeletal problems are general due to badly engineered workstations.


Workstations need to be structured so that the body remains in a safe, impartial position and injuries are curtailed. These elements include: desks, monitors, keyboards, chairs, mouse, telephones, document holders, and wrist pads. There should be sufficient room in the workstation to move around and take short breaks from boring tasks.

Workplace Hazards by Ergonomics

Ergonomics is the study of efficiency of people in their workplaces. Certain often unnoticed workplace situations may lead to both short-term and long-term illness. These happen when the type of work, body positions and working conditions put a stress on your body.

Ergonomics are the toughest to spot since you don’t always directly notice the struggle on your body or the harm that these hazards pose. Short-term display may result in “sore muscles” the next day or in the days following the exposure, but long term display can result in serious long-term illness.

Ergonomic Hazards result due to the following reasons −

  • Poorly adjusted workstations and chairs
  • Having to lift heavy objects too often
  • Embarrassing movements, especially if they are continuous
  • Having to use too much force, especially if you have to do it frequently
  • Dealing with frequent vibrations

Fire Prevention

Fire safety is everyone's accountability. Fire presents remarkable risk or threat to the survival of businesses. It can kill or seriously injure employees or visitors and can damage or destroy buildings, equipment and stock.

Fire Prevention

Organizations working from single premises are especially endangered as loss of premises may completely damage their operations. Many businesses fail to continue trading following an acute fire.

Threats of Fire at Workplaces

Fire can have devastating effect on businesses. The destructive power of fire can only be controlled and checked. Even after putting in place stringent fire safety measures, organizations sometimes fall victim to fire at workplaces causing a great loss to property and human lives.

Every stakeholder of an organization or a company like its employer, the management, the employees, the visitors, the customers and the general public must be aware of the potential threats of fire on the premises. The employer or the management has to bear the responsibility for making provisions of fire safety and activate awareness programs for the knowledge of all concerned.

The potential threats from Fire can be common occurrences in an organization that −

  • Stocks combustible materials like cotton, paper, plastics etc. including flammable liquids or gases

  • Uses heat methods and lacks sufficient extinguishers placed throughout the workplace

  • Has public entry, so the organization is at risk from arson

  • Has very poor housekeeping standards

  • Has poorly preserved equipment, poorly maintained machinery, or electrical circuits

The following steps are essential to deal with the menace of Fire −

  • Ensure all measures to reduce or prevent the chances of fire accidents from occurring

  • Regular carrying out of fire risk assessment

  • Immediate actions to eliminate risk factors after the assessment

  • Safeguard the workplace by putting fire extinguishers at every possible location in and around the premises

  • Remove inflammable waste daily, including build-up of dust

  • Notify the fire precautions for the knowledge of all concerned to safeguard anyone using the workplace

  • Provide information, instruction and proper training to employees about the fire precautions at workplaces