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Workers' Compensation

6 Workplace Hazards You Need to Be Aware Of

Greg Andress
by Greg Andress on October 22, 2020

Accidents and workplace mishaps can happen at any moment. That's why it's important to be aware of common workplace hazards to reduce the risk of employee injuries. The most common workplace hazards include safety hazards like slip-and-falls or electrical hazards. There are also ergonomic workplace hazards, environmental, chemical, among other common factors that pose safety risks to your workers.

Whether your company sets up shop on a job site or in an office, these are the workplace hazards you should be aware of in order to promote workplace safety. The following list helps break down the six most common workplace hazards as defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

 Most Common Workplace Hazards

  • Safety Hazards
  • Ergonomic Hazards
  • Environmental Hazards
  • Chemical Hazards
  • Biological Hazards
  • Work Organization Hazards

1. Safety Hazards

Safety hazards are the most common types of workplace hazards. They include unsafe conditions that can cause injury, illness, and even death. When you think of safety hazards, think of things like:

  • Spills or cords on the floor that could cause tripping
  • Working from heights on things like ladders, scaffolds, or roofs that could cause falls
  • Unguarded machinery or moving machinery parts that a worker could accidentally touch
  • Frayed cords, missing ground pins, or improper wiring that could cause electrocution
  • Confined spaces

 2. Ergonomic Hazards

Ergonomic hazards are some of the hardest workplace hazards to spot. They occur when the type of work, body positions, and working conditions put a strain on your body. Long-term exposure to these physical hazards can result in serious long-term illnesses. When you think ergonomic hazards, think of things like:

  • Workstations or chairs that are not properly adjusted
  • Frequent lifting
  • Poor posture
  • Awkward, repetitive movements
  • Frequent use of force (push, pull, reach)
  • Vibration

 3. Environmental Hazards

Environmental hazards are factors within the environment that can harm the body without necessarily touching it. When you think of these workplace hazards, think of things like:

  • High exposure to sunlight/ultraviolet rays
  • Temperature extremes
  • Constant loud noise

 4. Chemical Hazards

Chemical hazards are present when a worker is exposed to chemical preparation in the workplace. Some chemicals are safer than others, but even common items can cause illness, skin irritation or breathing problems. When you think chemical hazards, think of all forms in products like this:

  • Liquid cleaning products, paints, acids, solvents
  • Vapors and fumes from welding or exposure to solvents
  • Gases like acetylene, propane, carbon monoxide and helium
  • Flammable materials like gasoline, solvents and explosive chemicals
  • Pesticides

 5. Biological Hazards

Biological hazards include exposure to harm or disease from working with animals, people or infectious plant materials. These types of workplace hazards are most common in medical workplaces or nursing homes. Those who work in daycares, schools, or even universities could also encounter biological hazards. When you think of biological hazards, think of being exposed to things like:

  • Blood and other body fluids
  • Fungi/mold
  • Bacteria and viruses
  • Plants
  • Insect bites
  • Animal and bird droppings

 6. Work Organization Hazards

Work organization hazards are associated with things like general housekeeping, employee workload, lack of control and/or respect, and burnout. These stressors can go unnoticed in the short-term but have long-term effects. When you think work organization workplace hazards, think of examples like:

  • Overall working conditions (including restrooms)
  • Intensity/pace
  • Flexibility
  • Workplace violence
  • Sexual harassment

When it comes to workplace hazard awareness, it’s important to keep in mind that every job has its own work environment and unique risks. To establish a safety culture, you should conduct your own workplace hazard risk assessment regularly and be proactive to fix the identified hazards. At FrankCrum, our Risk Management Department has tools, resources, knowledge, and proven programs to help business owners succeed. Our safety professionals can help you spot workplace hazards and prevent risks on the job.


Greg Andress
Greg Andress

Greg Andress, Director of Risk Management Services for Frank Winston Crum Insurance, is a 30+ veteran of the insurance industry who has spent more than 20 years in risk management/loss control. With clients in many industries, Greg has developed proactive loss control programs, training materials and technical bulletins; and delivered training for hundreds of clients nationwide to help them understand how they can identify and control their total cost of loss.