Depending on the type of job and which industry it serves, the workplace can be dangerous. From the threat of falling debris on warehouses to asbestos in office spaces, employers and employees alike should be aware of any dangers in their environments and take corrective action to avoid harm to workers’ health.
The presence of chemicals in the American workplace is a common occurrence, especially in the manufacturing sectors. Chemicals that might be harmful to human health if workers are exposed may be essential components of the workflow or manufacturing process, so adjustments must be made to allow for the proper handling of potentially deadly chemicals.
OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard is the gold standard for workplace protocols related to dealing with chemicals in a safe way that prevents workplace injury.
Mold is a pernicious invader that often strikes offices and warehouses without the knowledge of the company or workers. Because mold thrives in damp, dark places, it can often be discovered in hard-to-reach locations like behind drywall or other deep structures within the structure of a building. Some molds are relatively benign for healthy people. Others, such as black mold, can cause severe respiratory issues and even deaths in some cases.
“Ergonomics” refers to the science of movement and how to do it optimally to prevent injury. Ergonomics is important in the workplace because many workers must repeatedly perform the same movements day in and day out.
Over the long term, practicing improper ergonomic movement can cause severe injury and even permanent disability.
The classic example of ergonomic strain at work is of the warehouse worker who lifts heavy objects improperly, endangering his back. However, an ergonomic strain can cause injuries in office workers, too, often in the form of carpal tunnel syndrome from repeated typing.
A Hostile Work Environment
Physical injuries are not the only concern when it comes to protecting workers’ health. A hostile work environment, often involving sexual harassment, open racism between workers or even from management, and a weak support structure for workers who face these issues can create an atmosphere ripe for emotional trauma.
The onus is on employers to create a workplace culture from the top down that emphasizes mutual respect among employees and allows employees to seek redress of their grievances – i.e., through a functional human resources department.
When employers institute the necessary changes to combat these issues, they make the workplace safer for everybody.