Understanding Employee Safety & Workplace Risk Factors

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Co-workers in a meeting reviewing a graphEmployee and Workplace Safety: How to Identify and Avoid Common Risks and Dangers

Every now and again, a workplace safety story makes the news because of hazardous conditions that created a tragic scenario. The recent years have seen mining accidents around the globe, explosions that have taken down oil rigs and small towns, and horrific crashes caused by overworked train conductors who go off the rails.

For each one of these examples, however, there are dozens of smaller incidents occurring in companies on an everyday basis. The most common hazards in today’s workplaces include:

Contagious Illnesses

Employees come to work when they are sick because they don’t have available time off or don’t want to use those hours for illness. Every business regardless of industry can fall prey to this safety issue.

Driving Accidents

Accidents that occur during the commute or while driving work vehicles are a leading cause of fatalities. Overtired employees distracted by personal or work-provided mobile devices are a particularly deadly combination.

Workplace Violence

Workplace violence does not only include employee conflicts, it also encompasses violent activity from the outside. Armed robbery is a very real threat for employees of convenience stores, fast-food outlets, pharmacies, banks and other easy targets.

Material Hazards

Industrial employees can experience long-term physical damage from repeated exposure to chemicals of various types. Examples include lead, asbestos, benzene and similar toxins that have been proven to cause cancer and other diseases.

Equipment and Machinery

Falls and other injuries are a daily workplace occurrence for many employers. Warehouse workers, equipment operators, electricians, construction workers, restaurant employees, and even landscapers are prone to injury.

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) provides ample resources to help companies communicate potential dangers. OSHA’s standard recommendations include:

  • Widely published and disseminated safety policies.
  • Labeling and postering in hazardous areas.
  • Multilingual training classes and materials.
  • Regular medical examinations.
  • Periodic safety inspections.
  • Effective incident reporting system
  • Protective gear for employees.
  • Equipment testing and maintenance.
  • Onsite security for vulnerable facilities.

As an occupational safety professional, it is your responsibility to address all aspects of workplace safety and risk mitigation. There is no doubt that instituting the proper measures adds expense in the short run. Nonetheless, the inherent value of avoiding workplace incidents far exceeds any investments that must be made. The cost of employee litigation, survivor benefits, and bad press cannot truly be measured

Learn More

Learn to identify and analyze potential workplace hazards, infractions and risks through a bachelor of science in occupational safety online. At Eastern Kentucky University, you will gain a graduate-level education by industry-experienced educators and fire and safety professionals who are committed to teaching and preparing you for continued success.