Workplace hazards pose a serious threat not only toward the health and safety of employees, but to the overall success of a business. A dangerous work environment can result in less confidence in the work place, leading to poor employee morale and performance. Employees start having to miss work due to illness and injury. Hefty costs toward rebuilding a dangerous work environment and paying off health inspectors health safety violations start piling up. A stigmatized reputation develops toward your business as being a business that does not care about its employees. People stop doing business with you, and soon enough, your out of business.
In order to prevent such workplace catastrophes, there are a myriad of safeguards your business can put in place immediately to help ameliorate a dangerous workplace environment. Below are three helpful area to focus improving workplace safety that are applicable to a variety of industries.
1. Noise Reduction
According to the Center for Disease Control, workplace hearing loss is the most common work-related injury. The CDC estimates that roughly 22 million workers in the U.S. are exposed to hazardous noise levels at work, while 9 million are exposed to harmful toxic chemicals. Whats the damage? A whopping $242 million is cashed out every year by businesses to cover workers compensation costs for hearing loss disabilities many of which could have been avoided if the work environment instilled safer practices in attention to reducing hazardous noise.
The biggest move a business can make is straightforward remove hazardous noise from the workplace whenever possible, or relocate the workplace to an area where such noise no longer exists. Secondary remediation companies like Sevenson Environmental have had great success cleaning up dangerously toxic sites, of which there are still over 10,000 in the U.S. alone. Some industries, such as factory and construction work require close proximity to high noise levels. In these cases, making sure employees are offered and wear the most proficient hearing safety gear is essential. Simple noise plugs found at your local Walgreens wont do. There are specific levels and grades of noise-dampening equipment that can be purchased based on the level of noise exposure. Take the extra time and money to research and employ this level of hearing protection to ensure your employees and your business will be successful.
2. Confined Spaces
The CDC defines confined spaces as a space which by design has limited openings for entry and exit, unfavorable natural ventilation which could contain or produce dangerous air contaminants, and which is not intended for continuous employee. When employees are forced to work in such spaces that include storage tanks, solos, boilers, ventilation and exhaust ducts, sewers, pipelines, and underground utility vaults, serious accidents happen. Approximately 100 deaths per year are attributed to confined spaces.
To safeguard these hazardous work areas, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Healths Guide to Safety in Confined Spaces recommends adding specific safe work practices for testing, monitoring, and ventilating the atmosphere, isolating energy sources, placing respirators on hand, working out stand-by and rescue protocols, and addressing general physical hazards including but not limited to extreme temperatures, slick surfaces, and engulfment hazards.
The name Asbestos, as described by the CDC is a commercial name given to a diverse set of six naturally occurring fibrous minerals. When handled by humans, asbestos can separate into microscope-size particles that can be easily inhaled. Occupational exposure to asbestos can lead to serious life-threatening diseases such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. Asbestos is still prevalent in many business workplaces, and continues to pose a serious health risk to workers.
One helpful initiative to reduce effects from asbestos exposure is to implement a medical surveillance program that includes a preplacement medical evaluation, periodic medical screening and/or biological monitoring. In addition, programs developed to handle waste removal and disposal, respiratory protection, up-to-date emergency first aid procedures, and accurate knowledge of health hazard information and exposure limits are encouraged for businesses to help deal with asbestos problems.
Guest post by: Hank Mcdonald
Hank feels most at home with a wrench in his hand, on his back under a car. If you have an electrical issue or your car is making crazy noises, he’s your guy.
- Top 10 Violations Investigated By The Kentucky Labor Cabinet (And How To Avoid Them!) Part 2
- Recommendations for Surviving Flu Season in the Workplace