Unexpected Risks and Hazards in the Workplace

Unexpected Risks and Hazards in the Workplace

When you’re at work, wherever and whatever your working environment, it’s integral that you’re as safe as possible. To ensure that you’re safe, it pays to be aware of the potential hazards in the workplace as well as any unexpected risks that you might not be aware of.

Especially true in the current climate surrounding COVID-19, returning to work and feeling well-protected while there is paramount to keeping a happy, productive workforce. To help both employers and employees alike uphold safe working practices, Office Furniture Online has put together a five-strong list of unexpected risks and hazards in the workplace.

Social Distancing

Certainly a hot topic at the moment, but also an incredibly important one; upholding social distancing within the workplace is a vital part of practice for everybody returning to work post-COVID-19 pandemic.

Thankfully, there are plenty of measures you can put in place to help people adhere to social distancing. The likes of protective screens and safety signage provide physical and written reminders for people to keep their distance and follow specific routes within the workplace.

From hands-free door opening systems to desk-mounted screens, there is plenty of cost-effective and efficient means of keeping to social distancing protocols.

Hazardous Liquids

Whether your workplace deals with hazardous liquids specifically or they can be found in certain areas of the premises, many employees will come into contact with these substances.

The agricultural, industrial and medical sectors in particular regularly deal with hazardous substances, including acids in cleaning products, strong bleaches, disinfectants, glues, solvent-based paints, pesticides, petroleum-based products and solvents.

The best way to avoid any mishaps with these harmful substances? Invest in the correct types of storage and disposal products. Flammable liquid cupboards and CoSHH cupboards allow businesses to safely and securely store away all manner of hazardous liquids and products, with stringent measures taken in all areas of design to ensure employees are well-protected.

Ergonomic Injuries

Sometimes the biggest risks and hazards can be the ones that look most unassuming; this includes the likes of office chairs and office desks in the workplace. Discomfort and strains caused by poor office furniture and equipment surprisingly account for a large number of office injuries, so you must consider investing in ergonomically designed products.

Around one-third of our lives are spent in chairs, in particular, office chairs, and so any fatigue, imbalance and muscle strain can potentially have detrimental and long-lasting effects on our health. It’s essential that you consider the height and weight of individual employees, as well as whether they’re left or right-handed. Each of these factors can have an impact on what kind of desk or chair is right for your employees.

Poor Ventilation

Again, this is something of a hot topic right now given the pandemic, but generally speaking, poor air quality and bad ventilation are among the top unexpected hazards to employees. The air that we breathe within the workplace is a hugely important factor, and heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems not working properly can cause erratic temperatures, uncomfortable humidity and even pollution.

Any of these factors can result in your workforce experiencing loss of focus, fatigue, and headaches and bring about the onset of illnesses too. To ensure that none of this becomes a problem, you must keep on top of air ventilation, and air conditioning and ensure that air filtration and a local exhaust system are installed in your building to safely and effectively remove dust, pollutants and toxins.

Poor Lighting

Lights quite often get little afterthought once they’re installed and deemed to be working. We switch them on, we turn them off, and they provide light – but they can also pose a risk in the workplace too.

This is especially true concerning the use of computers, where the eyes strain and focus on bright monitors as well as the room’s lighting. This can cause eye fatigue, and in the long run, potential problems with eyesight as well.

It’s not just eye strain that you have to worry about though, because inadequate lighting can result in accidents and injuries from trips, falls and also momentary blindness caused by the eyes adjusting to sudden shifts in dim to bright light.

To combat this, workplaces should feature a general lighting system that allows for consistent, uniform lighting across the board that can be easily adjusted for varying conditions.

To read more useful advice or buying guides from us here at OFO, click here to go to our blog page. We can guarantee we can help you build an office you are proud of, as well as improve your productivity and efficiency.