How to recognize hidden safety hazards in the workplace

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You may think that only workplaces with obvious hazards are the one that should take extra care about the safety of their employees and their workplace. And even though it may be much easier to spot danger if your job is construction work, or if you are working at height, hazards that lurk just around the corner of your office are the ones that are taking most of the employer’s time and money, because those are the ones that are mostly overlooked. That is why it is important to make a detailed assessment of every possible hazard that is lying around your workplace. That way you will protect your employees and yourself from unnecessary casualties.

1. Too Much Overtime

Yes, overtime is very convenient, even for employees who are getting paid more money for their overtime. And you are spared of searching and educating more seasonal workers, which would take a lot of your time (and money). But sometimes, working overtime can be very dangerous. Studies have shown that people make the most mistakes when they are fatigued and have not had enough sleep. Also, tired employees are everything except beneficial, they cannot focus on the job and their productivity level is very low. That is why you need to take extra care for that, even if it sounds a little bit abstract. If an employee asks you to leave for being too tired, or if you notice that someone’s focus is all around but not on work – send them home to take a rest. It will not only show your workers that you care about their well-being, but it will also benefit their productivity level, hence your work.

2. Unexpected Openings

Most of the workplaces have at least one hidden opening of some kind. It can be for instance an opening at the top of a ladder or a staircase, but no matter what kind it is, if not marked properly it is a spot of many potential hazards. If you have in mind that workers lift and move heavy object and packages through workspace, which significantly limits their view, you can easily see how dangerous it can be to have such hidden openings which are not properly secured. Some employers use floor tape or floor signs, but I would highly suggest using some sort of fence since employees whose vision is blocked by the load they are carrying cannot really notice floor tape or signs. You can find temporary fence panels for sale at any bigger home and office supply stores.

3. Not Enough Lights

This one is particularly overlooked. A lot of workplaces have very high ceilings, which automatically reduces the light power and you end up with not enough light. Not to mention large cabinets, machines and other objects that can block the light from coming to certain places and you end up with very dark spots where it is almost impossible to see clearly. Do a detailed examination of lighting in every corner of your workplace that you know workers could use for work and make needed improvements. Investing in proper lighting is never wasted money.

4. Extension Cords

There is never enough electrical outlets in a workspace, and most of the times, at least for one device, there is a need of using extension cords. While it is a great temporary fix, it can easily become a permanent solution which is far from great and rather to say very dangerous. There are multiple ways how extension cords can be a source of many hazards. They are well-known and significant trip hazard. Also, it is drawing a lot of the power which can lead up to an overloaded circuit, a power outage or even a surge. If you are using any kind of vehicles in your work area, you are in danger of running it over with it which leads to cutting the cord and putting everyone at risk of electrocution. That is why you need to make sure that your employees understand that is should be used only temporarily. Also, if you see that more electrical outlets are needed, it is better to take a more expensive but much safer solution.

Potential hazards are not only the part of high-risk jobs, and they take place in even the most secure and cozy offices. Do not take it for granted and explore every potential hazard in your area.