Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist*

Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist*

Common workplace safety hazards to look out for

On Behalf of | Jun 26, 2024 | Firm News

All employees deserve a safe working environment. Keeping safe requires awareness of common workplace safety hazards. These hazards can be physical, chemical or biological and can be a potential source of injury or illness. While the specific risks vary by industry, some dangers are universal.

Slip-and-fall accidents and trips

These are the leading causes of workplace injuries. Wet floors, uneven surfaces and clutter can all contribute to accidents that may lead to bruises, broken bones or even, spine injuries. Employers should ensure proper housekeeping, maintain walkways and provide slip-resistant footwear whenever necessary.

Falling objects

Working at heights, with heavy materials or near moving equipment increases the risk of falling objects. Proper fall protection systems, such as guardrails, must be in place. Workers must also receive personal protective equipment (PPE), including hard hats and safety helmets.

Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs)

Repetitive tasks, awkward postures and heavy lifting can lead to MSDs like back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has specific workplace requirements that may help prevent MSDs. These include periodic facility reviews where a representative inspects workstation designs and overall work processes from an ergonomic perspective.

Exposure to hazardous material

Industries such as mining, agriculture and construction deal with substances with chemicals, toxins or dust. These are prone to causing respiratory problems, skin irritation or poisoning. Safety laws require employers to install proper ventilation systems. They must also provide workers with respirators and train them to handle these materials safely.

Can I report a workplace safety hazard?

Yes, you may. Pennsylvania’s General Safety Law and OSHA standards mandate a safe work environment. If you feel unsafe and at risk at work, you may follow these steps:

  • Document the hazard: Take pictures or videos, if possible. Note the date, time and location of the hazard.
  • Talk to a superior: If you feel comfortable, bring the issue to their attention.
  • Maintain confidentiality: If you fear retaliation, file your complaint anonymously with OSHA. They are legally prohibited from disclosing your identity to your employer.
  • Seek legal counsel: If you or a loved one are injured in your place of work, you have the right to claim compensation.

Keep in mind that Pennsylvania workers have the right to a safe workplace and the right to refuse unsafe work. By being aware of these common hazards and taking steps to prevent them, workplaces can be safer for everyone. Don’t hesitate to report unsafe conditions and prioritize your own safety on the job.