5 Hidden Dangers of the Workplace!

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have stated that in the UK from 2010-2011 as many as 175 workers were injured at work, furthermore 1.2 million people were suffering from work related illnesses. No matter where you work, there are always risks involved that go unnoticed. Here are some of the most frequent and more overlooked dangers of the workplace:

work-placeAsbestos: this is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK; it is responsible for approximately 4500 deaths a year. Overexposure to asbestos is more common with trades-people such as joiners and plumbers. As someone who currently has a relative undergoing the claim process for asbestos, I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to take precautions. The inhalation of asbestos fibres does not cause any immediate effect; it occurs much later in life. To avoid any exposure it may help to look into the age of the building, asbestos is only present in buildings that were built before 2000. The best recommendation I can offer in this instance is to bring in professionals to remove the substance, if you try to do it yourself you bear all legal liability. Simpler alternatives are available, making others aware of the asbestos areas and wearing protecting clothing may reduce the likelihood of exposure, as would washing your hands at the end of each shift.

Over-exertion and stress: repetitive use injury is the fastest growing type of injury in the workplace, it takes place gradually so it is harder to recognise. Of course this occurs due to the repetition of actions or remaining in the same position for extended durations of time. This is one of the hazards that you have the most personal control over, if you ever feel uncomfortable or unbearably stressed you are well within your rights to request a personal day, likewise you should have the opportunity to move or rest the part of your body causing you problems.

Driving to work: Over a third of all traffic accidents involve someone that is working at the time. In order to reduce the likelihood of an accident occurring it is important that you report any vehicle defects to the line manager, or any personal health problems you may have. Likewise it is important that as a driver you are calm, relaxed and well rested. Employers can reduce risks involved with driving by selecting their drivers carefully and avoiding unrealistic deadlines/schedules.

: HSE has stated that slips trips and falls are the single most common cause of workplace injuries. This could be caused by something as simple as wet or uneven floors, loose cables and poor lighting. Absolutely everyone in the workplace is responsible for reporting and making people aware of hazards; every employee should actively make an effort to recognise risks. Simple measures such as wearing the correct safety shoes could help you avoid slipping over should you not notice the hazard.

Noise: Common in careers ranging from air steward to builder, consistent exposure to loud noises can permanently damage the ears. Managers should carry out noise assessments to measure whether employees are at risk; the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 indicates that anything over 87 decibels is too high and that you should find means to get rid of or reduce the sound levels.