Seven safety hazards to watch out for if you have a risky job

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Of course, dangerous jobs require a certain level of precaution over and above the standard precautions you might take for regular jobs. That is an easy statement to make and an easier one to believe. However, more specifically, you must take a variety of precautions to keep yourself from being maimed, burned, or paralyzed. That said, even taking certain precautions can be difficult tasks unto themselves.

  1. Improper chemical handling

There is a large variety of substances in the workplace that can be very toxic if they are exposed to your skin. Many can burn or be absorbed, causing serious illness, injury, or massive swelling. Other workplace substances that can be a potential safety hazard are paint, insulation, and sawdust. For these substances, breathing them in is the danger. As a result, it is important to ensure that the area is well ventilated and that every worker wears safety gear appropriate to the specific situation.

Additionally, on a worksite, it is common for chemicals to accumulate and remain unused. This neglect can result in those chemicals passing their expiration dates. This can pose a seriously dangerous situation. For instance, within 12 months, ether can degrade into explosive peroxide.

  1. Misuse of equipment

Forklifts are common vehicles used in a variety of workplaces. Although training is required to operate this type of machinery, they can still pose a serious hazard as they steer opposite to what most vehicles steer. In fact, a leading cause of accidents relates to forklift operation. For instance, when workers feel pressure to get a job done quickly, they tend to get confused or take shortcuts. This can lead to driving with a load that is too large, driving while distracted, or making the wrong decision based on just how difficult it is to drive one of these vehicles.

Other hazards related to forklifts include poor maintenance and the failure to segregate pedestrians from vehicles.

  1. Defective equipment

Defective machinery and tools are unfortunately a common workplace safety hazard. As you can well imagine, the use of a defective tool, such as a chainsaw, can potentially lead to a serious injury. From metalworking to razing trees, the practice of fixing equipment often is ignored due to schedules. In such industries as crab fishing, workers often make repairs only when they are absolutely needed. Such practice creates ships that fishermen call "tender." These so-called tender ships are simply ships that have gone on for years without necessary repairs.

  1. Lockout/Tagout

Improper lockout/Tagout procedures for hazardous energy, such as thermal, hydraulic, or electrical energy are a source of potentially serious injury or death. It is of utmost importance to ensure that equipment is shutdown at the appropriate time. Additionally, workers must be certain to follow the appropriate shutdown procedures.

In addition to human error, faulty equipment can interfere with workers' ability to follow appropriate guidelines. To protect workers, thorough training and routine maintenance are required to ensure they are not exposed to hazardous situations.

  1. Improper handling of extension cords

A frequent safety hazard involves the use of extension cords. For instance, it is common in the workplace to find multiple extension cords or power strips to power a device. Even if the proper gauge is used, this practice is still unsafe because electricity can be overdrawn from the circuit, resulting in hot wires that can ultimately cause a fire.

Additionally, extension cords strewn across the ground, especially in heavy traffic areas, are a tripping hazard. When they are laid in the path of a vehicle, they can be worn down. For instance, forklifts can compress them until the insulation is damaged and they become a shock hazard.

  1. Unsafe support when working at extreme heights

The potential for falls when working high above the ground is something that must be taken seriously. Whether an employee is working on a scaffold or ladder, it is of paramount importance to ensure the equipment is secure. Workers should also confirm the surrounding area is safe.

However, many employers may not know what type of fall protection is best or where such things as anchor points should be located. As such, it is important to contact professionals, such as those found at Sydney Rescue Consultants, to make sure your workplace is safe for everyone.

  1. Clutter

In addition to simply being annoying, clutter can pose a serious safety hazard. In fact, objects such as building materials, furniture, and random debris clutter a workspace, increasing the chance that someone trips.

However, clutter does not just occur on the floor. For instance, overstocked shelving poses a serious risk of falling on top of workers. This danger is compounded if the shelves are not secured to a wall. Making sure that all shelving is secured to the wall and loaded correctly will significantly reduce the likelihood of an accident.

By: Eric Reyes