Looking for Hazards in the Workplace

While every workplace should make sure there are procedures in place in case there was an accident, we all know the importance of avoiding these incidents before they have the potential of occuring. Therefore the need to complete regular hazard checks.

Sometimes these hazard checks aren’t as efficient as they could be, as many people are so accustomed to seeing the same thing day after day, they don’t recognize potential threats. They just blend in with the rest of the workplace. 

So, how can you see things differently? Put some time aside to go into the office or workshop when no one else is around, so you are not distracted, and…

Look Down:

There are likely some things you automatically step over or weave around every day as you make your way through the office or shop. While you may reflexively step over them, that doesn’t mean they should be there. If you have to make an effort to step over or around something, that means it is a hazard that someone who is not as used to the environment may trip over.

Look Up:

If you are like many businesses, you use every available space for storage and the items you need for your daily operations.  If your office has an abundance of shelves and other items stacked high, it’s time to give them a closer look. Check how sturdy shelves are. You should be able to bump into those shelves or stacks of items without them moving too much and definitely without them tumbling over. If your shelves are not bracketed to the wall, they should be.

Check light fittings. One office that specialised in glamour photography had an array of photographs spread over a work table under one of the overhead lights that was covered by a large plastic light shade. When the shade melted through and fell on the table, dribbling melted plastic over prints and a store of negatives, there was silence of regret in the office. Why regret? Because no one had bothered to investigate where that burning smell was coming from over the previous few hours, and then address the hazard.

Look Around:

Other work cubicles may pose risks, but the worker within them just ‘grins and bears’. It could be anything from sharp edges on furniture, a ‘trumpety chair’, a rip in the floor covering, cleaning chemicals and photocopy toners stored nearby, and so on. Just because the other worker is prepared to put up with the hazard, as perhaps they don’t want to ’cause waves’, that doesn’t mean that potential accident or health risk won’t ever take place.

Get Fresh Eyes:

If you are having a tough time seeing all the threats in your own workspace simply because you are so accustomed to your surroundings, perhaps a fresh pair of eyes could help. Maybe someone who doesn’t work with you could accompany you and point out anything they think could be a workplace hazard.

About the Author

Safety Concepts is an online resource providing up to date insights and covering issues in the field of Workplace Safety.

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  1. crismark4 says:

    nice to see that this topic is finally getting some airtime. Keeping hush-hush about it doesn’t make it go away… BTW, here’s some more info about used office furniture for those interested.

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