Common Hazards in the Workplace
Protecting Industrial Workers
Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed in 1970, the number of workplace hazards have greatly reduced.
When work-related threats are kept in check, employees are less likely
to be involved in work-related accidents. The mix of OSHA, improvements
for safety equipment, and the increased monitoring of workplace environments
has led to much safer workplaces today when compared to a few decades ago.
Even so, more efforts need to be made to counter the hundreds of thousands
of electrocutions, slip and fall accidents, chemical burns, and scaffolding
accidents, as well as injuries sustained from falling objects, flying
debris, and defective machinery that still occur every year. Many of these
hazards result in serious
workplace injuries yearly.
However, workplace safety is an ever-growing industry. One man or woman
dying on the job due to unsafe work practices is one too many, but the
reality is that there are hundreds of men and women who die and thousands
more who are injured every year due to unsafe work environments. This
is unacceptable, and it is dire that employees understand the potential
work hazards that they face in their job enviroments.
What Are the Most Common Workplace Hazards?
Some of the most common hazards that industrial employees face include:
Defective Equipment: In some work environments, the general understanding for employees is
that they “use a tool until it no longer works.” Although
a boss may never say something that straightforward, what they do say
is, “We don’t have money to replace (insert damaged tool here)
and if it gets the job done, why replace it?” When an employer says
this to an employee, they are communicating that the employee’s
safety is not as important as the money that would be spent on replacing
the tool. This can lead to wounds caused by defective equipment, which
stretch far beyond the ones that can be fixed with a Band-Aid. Industrial
accidents involving defective equipment often result in
crushing injuries, and other severe trauma.
Falling Objects: Anytime a work environment is multi-leveled, workers who are underneath
other employees are at risk from falling objects. These kinds of injuries
are usually easy to prevent, but, at times, simplicity overrides safety.
The extra time that it takes to secure a pile of bricks or to move an
object in a perilous position may be deemed as “unnecessary work.”
This can lead employees to make unsafe decisions because they were told
by their employer that there was no time to worry about potential risks.
Flying Debris: The cause of an unbelievable amount of
eye injuries each year, flying debris is an overlooked hazard due to the seemingly
minor threat that tiny pieces of material pose. When taken on their own,
a shard of glass, dust from cement or wood, and slivers of various materials
may not seem like much of a hazard. However, when a worker uses tools
and machines that can make these materials travel at high velocities,
a wood shard can end up being an affective spear. Workers should always
put on safety goggles before returning to their jobs, and if employers
do not provide goggles or face masks for jobs that require them, the employer
could be held accountable for any eye injury that occurs.
Toxic Exposure: Although OSHA outlines exposure limits for various chemicals in workplace
settings, new hires are not always trained on these safety standards.
There have been various law cases were workers were asked to dump or use
chemicals in way that was entirely against OSHA’s standards for
safe work practices. As a rule of thumb, if a worker does not understand
the makeup of the chemical that they are using, they should not be using
it until they receive clarification on safe-use practices. If employees
choose to use the chemicals without proper handling knowledge, or if they
are ill-informed of the risks that the chemical poses, they could end
up with irritations, burns, or deadly diseases.
Unsafe Machinery: In reality, most any machine in a construction site or development plant
could be used unsafely. When workers are cutting, pounding, and shaping
raw materials, there are always inherent risks. However, proper safety
training, up-to-date safety equipment, and correct usage of these machines
will drastically minimize the inherent risks that these machines pose.
Too often, machinists use the same machine each and every day while not
fully understanding how the machine operates. If an employee understands
what a machine does and is able to use to machine correctly, but does
not understand how the machine works, this can arguably mean that the machinist
is not properly trained. Understanding how a machine works helps employees
understand what they need to look for when assessing the machine’s
health. One loose screw, one broken setting, and one button is all it
takes for a machine to break down and potentially hurt someone. Employers
need to be held responsible to train employees in how a machine works
so that employees stay safe.
What Should I Do If I Have Been Injured on the Job?
If you or a loved one was injured by a workplace hazard and you believe
that it was preventable, contact our industrial injury attorneys immediately
for a free consultation. Time is of the essence, as employers are sometimes
informed by insurance agencies to get rid of incriminating evidence that
caused work-related injuries. Our firm goes into work environments and
assesses why someone got hurt so that we can find out who should be held
responsible for the trauma our client received. We seek after the truth
of who is at fault in work-related accidents.
If you would like to learn more about workplace hazards and how it can
affect your claim, contact Arnold & Itkinfor a free consultation. You pay nothing unless you receive compensation
for your claim!