8 Common Safety Threats You May Be Missing

8 Common Safety Threats You May Be Missing

John Southall

Whether you’re operating in a high-risk manufacturing environment or a low-risk office space, threats to your health and safety are almost everywhere.

This article will help you identify these threats and eliminate them!

1. Insufficient lighting

Quite simply, poor lighting reduces the likelihood of people being able to actually see any hazards that might lie ahead of them. Lighting is particularly important on stairwells. Areas often forgotten include external areas. Lighting should be sufficient for staff to safely access parked cars in work car parks after dark.

2. Trailing cables

These could come from anywhere – PCs, phones, kettles, toasters, TVs and fans are just a few of the most common appliances. Trailing cables create two types of hazards: trips and falls if an employee gets their foot tangled in them, and fire hazards if sockets or extension leads are overloaded.

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3. Propped fire doors

It’s not uncommon for business’ to prop open their fire doors – especially on a hot day to let in a bit of a breeze. But you absolutely shouldn’t. In the event of a fire, propped open fire doors essentially become redundant, because they enable the fire to spread uncontrollably, and at pace.

4. General housekeeping

That stack of empty boxes from last week’s delivery. The pile of scrap paper waiting to be taken out. Or that broken chair clogging up the hallway. They all pose slip, trip and fall hazards and obstruct escape routes. Combustible items left lying around facilitate the spread of fire.

5. Dirty welfare facilities and appliances

Rooms used for staff lunch breaks should be clean. Work-surfaces, tables, fridges and microwaves should also be kept in a clean condition. Staff should be able to wash their hands in clean facilities, with soap, towels and hot /warm running water.

6. Manual Handling

Manual handling involves any activity of lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, carrying, holding or moving an object that requires physical labour. Before staff engage in any manual handling, reduce the risks by assessing the weight and where it is to be placed. Can handling aids be used? Can it be broken down into smaller quantities? Can another person help? Are any obstructions in the way?

7. Under the influence

There are certain times of the year when this is particularly rife – like Christmas and around major sporting events. If someone’s still intoxicated from the night before – no matter how little – it can impact their concentration, reaction times, and all-round awareness – all of which can easily have a knock-on effect on the safety of tasks they are involved in.

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8. Stress and Mental Health

In order to keep your workplace and staff healthy, in line with an employer’s duty of care, you should keep an eye out for signs of stress. When signs are spotted it is important to take steps to be supportive and put in place measures to help reduce these stress levels as soon as possible.

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