hazards in the workplace

Hazards in the workplace vary from industry to industry, and from business to business. The degree to which workers are exposed to them also varies. 


Hazards in the workplaces normally come under 1 of 6 categories:




These hazards can include bacteria, insects, plants, viruses, animals, birds, and humans. A biohazard is a biological substance that could potentially cause harm to live things. Jobs that could include coming into contact with biohazards include crime scene investigators, doctors, cleaners, healthcare workers, and vets. 




Chemical hazards are non-biological substances that can cause harm. These substances can cause skin irritation, cause cancer, and cause breathing issues. Jobs that could include handling these substances include agricultural workers, chemists, cleaners, plant workers, and lab technicians. 




Ergonomic hazards are a result of physical issues which cause musculoskeletal injuries. This can be because of a poor workstation, posture, and manual handling issues. Where workers are lifting heavy objects, so working in warehouses, and sitting at a desk in an office environment, ergonomic hazards will be more present. 




Physical hazards are when workers are exposed to environmental factors, for example, noise, height, vibration, pressure, and radiation. Occupations, where workers can be exposed to these hazards, include landscaping. railway work, construction, x-ray operators, and high-rise window cleaners. 




When workers are exposed to situations that can have an effect on their mental health and wellbeing, these are considered psychological hazards. But, psychological hazards go beyond social and economic factors. The way in which workplaces are managed and run can have psychological impacts on workers. Occupations that could see workers exposed to these hazards include social workers, emergency service workers, and any high-stress job.




Sometimes these fit under the ‘physical hazards’ category. But they are considered more ‘preventable’. For example, tripping hazards, exposed wires, uneven floors, and wet floors. These kinds of hazards can be present in most workplaces. 


How to avoid hazards in the workplace 


Whilst there is no way to completely remove the possibility of accidents in the workplace. Plans, preparations, and actions can be put in place to mitigate accidents. 


Knowledge of hazards 


In order to avoid and mitigate hazards, workers must first have the knowledge of what hazards are present within their workplace. They can then successfully identify where they have seen them and highlight them to management.  


Training for all staff 


Workers must know how they can reduce their risk of accident when exposed to hazards in the workplace. Whether this is how to lift safely, what PPE should be worn when, and how to spot signs of stress. 




Successful communication is important for avoiding hazards. This could mean asking questions when something is not fully understood, or informing the right person when a hazard is identified, and for this to be removed. 


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)


Equipment which sufficiently protects workers from potential hazards should always be readily available, and of a certain quality that provides the right level of protection. 


Contact Us 


For more information on protecting your workers against hazards in the workplace, and how our health screening and health surveillance services can benefit your workplace, get in touch. Email us at website@acornoh.co.uk or call us on 01260 277797

Want to know more about the Occupational Health services we provide at Acorn, and how they could benefit your business and your employees? Please get in touch.