Even the most safety conscious workplace can be a maze of safety hazards. Some hazards are clearly marked and visible, while others are more discreet and dangerous. Employers have a legal and ethical duty to protect their employees against any safety hazards in the workplace. Hazards within the workplace are comprised of any health and safety risks that can potentially harm individuals working.
There are a few different categories of workplace hazards: physical, ergonomic, chemical and biological. Each of these presents different obstacles that can lead to extremely severe injury or even death.
Physical and Ergonomic Hazards:
Unfortunately, physical hazards are the most common type of hazard. They include excessive noise and slips, trips, and falls. Over one million people in the workplace suffer from slip, trip and fall related injuries annually. OSHA shares another shocking statistic, that 15 percent of all accidental deaths are caused by slips, trips, and falls. These unfortunate and unnecessary events cost employers about $40,000 per incident and cost employees and their families hardship, pain, and sometimes unimaginable loss.
Spotting workplace hazards that cause slips, trips, and falls is not only a requirement but an ethical duty to everyone in the workplace. Common causes of slips, trips, and falls are floor surfaces that become unstable due to spills, debris, or improper utilization and care of anti-fatigue matting. If an employee notices any type of liquid that makes a floor wet or slippery, the proper signage should be used until the area is properly dried and cleaned. Debris is often overlooked because it’s small in size. However, it’s often the small things that amount to large injury. Finally, anti-fatigue matting can be the most dangerous culprit because it traps debris and can be difficult and expensive to clean and maintain. Therefore, anti-fatigue matting goes without care and repair, and may begin to peel, becoming an uneven and unforgiving walking surface.
Instead of dealing with the dangers of anti-fatigue matting, we recommend starting an anti-fatigue insole program. Personal Anti-Fatigue Insoles provide wearers with constant support, shock absorption and protection. They reduce slips, trips, and falls because they offer 360 degree coverage, ensuring comfort with every step. Unlike traditional anti-fatigue matting, anti-fatigue insoles are clinically designed to reduce pain and fatigue, are machine washable, and provide the individual with a cost effective personal safety solution.
Not only do anti-fatigue insoles reduce physical hazards but they prevent injuries caused by ergonomic hazards. Ergonomic hazards cause injury to the musculoskeletal system such as repetitive movement, using equipment improperly or lifting heavy items throughout the day. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor, Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD)s occur when physical movement leads to overexertion. Some examples include; back pain, hernia, carpal tunnel, sprains and strains. Unfortunately, back pain symptoms are within the top 10 reasons people visit the doctor and 5-10 percent of patients suffer from chronic back pain.
Once again, employees require a workplace wellness solution for these aches and pains. Not only do MSDs impair the quality of life for workers but they increase absenteeism, reduce productivity, and increase healthcare costs. Workers deserve a quality solution that can improve their wellbeing and protect the bottom line for business owners. Our anti-fatigue insoles are clinically designed to reduce pain and fatigue, providing superior shock absorption through our patented dual layer memory foam technology.
Chemical and Biological Hazards
Toxic substances and chemicals can create countless health hazards, including; skin and eye irritation, carcinogenicity, flammability and sensitization. Employers are required to evaluate and identify all chemical and biological hazards in the workplace and are legally required to utilize warning labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDS). Sharing important long and short term health issues, such as rashes, physical disorders and poisoning, with employees is vital and mandatory.
Common workplace chemical and biological hazards include; acids, glues, heavy metals, paint, pesticides, solvents, and even cleaning products. OSHA offers their Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) which was established to ensure that employees have easy access to information about toxic substances and chemical hazards in the workplace.
National Safety Month is an excellent reminder to stop, identify and evaluate all workplace safety hazards. Ensuring it’s safe for employees to utilize their workplace while being productive is the employers responsibility. Although it’s best to address safety concerns and hazards each week, we value the opportunity to discuss workplace safety hazards with the national safety community this month.