Understanding Hazards – What are the most common hazards?

Common hazards exist in every workplace, you will need to be able to recognise them and know what to do about them.  This section includes 22 hazards that could be found in your workplace, however not all of of them might be present but certainly a good number will.

Hazards generally fall into six broad groups:

Mechanical – hazards are created by the powered operation of apparatus or tools.  The applied power may be machine-generated or human.

Physical – hazards are substances or conditions that may harm a person’s physical safety.  Some examples are fires, electricity, vibration and poor housekeeping.

Chemical – hazards due to their intrinsic properties can cause harm to humans, property or the environment.  Some chemicals occur naturally, radon gas, while others are manufactured for commercial or home use.

Biological – hazards are organic substances or microorganisms that pose a threat to the health of humans and other living organisms.  They also include toxins that are produced by organisms.

Environmental – hazards are conditions or events that have the potential to affect the environment and adversely affect people’s health.  These hazards come in various forms and are often unnoticed until an accident occurs e.g. noise, poor lighting, dust etc.

Organisational – hazards are associated with behaviour, workload, time constraints and deadlines.  Stress is the biggest risk associated with organisational hazards.