Workplace Safety - Health Hazards


Keeping a safe workplace needs employers to pick hazardous and risky issues and take necessary steps to reduce their chance of occurrences. When an employee is working in any organization, there are chances of getting effected by health hazards.

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.

Workplace Hazards by Fitness and Wellness

More employers are taking steps to make better the health and fitness of their employees. It is in an employer's best hobby to spend in the wellness of employees. Healthy employees are more efficient, take negligible sick days, and cost less in insurance premiums.

One can look at the following ways to improve fitness and wellness at the workplace −

  • Offer to add gym memberships or have workout apparatus at the office
  • Support smoking termination programs
  • Encourage nutrition and weight loss programs

Workplace Hazards by Heat Stress

Employees who work in immoderate hot situations are in danger to heat stress. Heat stress includes heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat faint, and heat cramps. Jobs especially responsible to heat stress are factory workers, bakers, miners, fire fighters, construction those of workers, are more prone to heat stress. Heat stress can lead to injuries as people become unsteady or lose awareness after working in heat condition for regularly for hours together.

Health Hazards

Many people are exposed to heat on the job, outdoors or in hot indoor environments. Work involving high air temperatures, bright heat sources, high stuffiness, direct physical contact with hot objects, or difficult physical activities have a high possibility for causing heat-related illness to the employees.

When the air temperature is close to or warmer than normal body temperature, cooling of the body becomes more difficult. Blood circulated to the skin cannot lose its heat. Perspiring then becomes the chief way the body cools off. But, perspiring is effectual only if the humidity level is low enough to allow evaporation and if the fluids and salts that are lost are sufficiently replaced.

When the body fails to get rid of excess heat, it will keep it. When this happens, the body's vital temperature rises and the rate of heartbeat increases. As the body continues to store heat, the person begins to lose close attention and has difficulty in emphasizing on a work, may become bad-tempered or sick, and often loses the desire to drink.

Following are the ways to prevent heat stress

  • Drink water and hold back from caffeine
  • Splash cold water on the face
  • Rest in cool place
  • Take continuous breaks
  • Slowly modify to the heat
  • Wear the suitable clothing, if possible, loose fitting and lightweight clothing
  • Take extra precautions with certain medications suitable the work situation

Workplace Hazards by Stress

Tiredness is a state of physical and/or mental weariness which minimizes a person’s ability to execute work safely and efficiently. Tiredness is due to a person’s lack of discipline and commitment. It minimizes awareness. This may lead to errors, and an increase in workplace incidents and injuries.

There are various causes of tiredness; some of them are reciprocal. These include −

Work schedules – hours of work, night work and shift work

Long work hours, inconsistent work hours, and plans that require night work can cause tiredness. These plans limit the time for a person to bodily and mentally retrieve himself/herself from work. Working at night cuts in the natural sleeping rhythm, which can cause tiredness.

Sleep Disturbance

Everyone requires a specific amount of sleep to stay vigilant and work well. People normally need between 7.5 and 9 hours of sleep a night. The most advantageous sleep is deep, calm and taken in a single continuous period. When the length and quality of sleep each day is disturbed, tiredness may be the outcome.

Environmental conditions

Climate extremes, noise and handling vibrating tools place demands on employees and increase tiredness.

Physical and mental work Requirement

Some activities like construction need adequate physical energy and patience for abnormally long hours of work. Some other like long hours of paper work needs high degree of mental peace. All these qualities are difficult to acquire. These jobs can be nagging which cause tardiness among its holders. Mental demands can also expand tiredness; such as works that require periods of great concentration.

Emotional well-being

Work events can be emotionally tiring and expands tiredness, such as daily disapproval for or the pressure to finish a task by the deadline. Non-work events like social activities can also cause anguish and lead to tiredness.

Workplace Hazards by Violence

Non-employees sometimes carry out most deadly activities at workplace. Mostly robbery is the latent motive behind such unlawful commission by outsiders. As per available data robbery constitutes three quarters or more.

Consequently, examine where employees are altering or guarding money, communicating with the public or working alone or in small groups in the late or early hours of the day. You can also make sure the area around your workplace is sunny, put security cameras, or consider scaling back your business hours if late or early action comes to require heavy security and insurance costs.