Employers have a responsibility to protect their staff from health and safety risks at work. Not only is this a legal requirement, but it can also help to promote a happy and productive workforce.
From harmful chemicals, to poor posture, to stressful work demands, hazards lurk in every corner of every workplace. Luckily, there are now a wide variety of courses available to help employers and managers identify and minimise risks. For example, SHEilds health & safety training solutions are tailored to fit business models across all industries.
Meanwhile, if you want to find out more about how to identify the most common causes of accidents and injuries at work and how to avoid them, this simple guide should help.
Slips and trips
Perhaps one of the most common workplace hazards is slipping and tripping accidents. To prevent injuries, it’s important to carry out regular inspections of your premises and look out for any obstructions in walkways, uneven surfaces and spillages. Take care to ensure that the lighting is good enough for employees to spot obstructions and make sure good housekeeping is practiced at all times.
Another common health risk involves physical strain on the body. Ergonomic injuries can be caused by excessive force, repetitive movements and frequent lifting, an improperly adjusted workstation and spending an excessive amount of time on a task without a break. To avoid these hazards, a thorough risk assessment should be carried out to identify and monitor the work activities that may cause injury. When possible, try to modify the job to suit the worker and always provide the necessary equipment for manual handling tasks. You should also encourage staff to maintain good posture and provide proper instruction and training on safe working practices.
Examples of chemical hazards that can put employee’s health at risk include excessive exposure to toxic substances, dust, fumes, smoke and gases. For jobs that involve working with chemical substances, it’s crucial to make sure that proper extraction systems are installed, any risk of contamination is minimised and protective equipmentent is provided. You should also make efforts to control the level of exposure and ensure that all employees are suitably trained and aware of the risks involved.
While some levels of stress at work are normal, excessive amounts can hinder productivity, cause unacceptable interference with normal life and damage a worker’s mental and physical health. Managers and employers should keep an eye out for symptoms of stress, including anxiety, depression, frequent absence from work and underperformance, and try to identify the underlying causes to provide a healthy solution.