Common Workplace Hazards

Employers and employees alike should take precautions to prevent potential workplace hazards. Some problems, however, may not be obvious—they could exist in the form of an inappropriately-used extension cord or a misplaced box of supplies. The National Safety Council utilizes a team of consultants who travel around the country to visit workplaces. These five hazards were identified by the National Safety Council as some of the most pervasive and common in the country.


Poor housekeeping. This can include everything from clutter blocking fire exits to accidentally hindering a ceiling sprinkler that may be deployed in case of a fire. If you notice something related to poor housekeeping, employees and employers should not wait for cleaning and sanitation crews to fix the issue. Try to clean and declutter as you go, or alert your supervisor to a potential problem.


Working at height. Though unsurprising, the NSC identifies the most hazards with working at height. The Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that falls from height-related work accounted for 14 percent of all workplace fatalities in 2014. If you work at height, develop safety standards relating to scaffolding, ladders, and emergency plans.


Chemicals. If your workplace uses or purchases chemicals, there needs to be a control system in place. All employees should understand what the chemicals are used for, why they were ordered, what they do, and how they can practice safety in their presence.


Electrical hazards. These hazards appear in the form of blocked breakers and inappropriately-used extension cords. Extensions are useful for temporarily supplying power to a certain source, but they should be used sparingly. Moreover, extension cords lying on the ground pose another hazard—an employee could trip and fall.