Whether it’s an office or a building site, each workplace has its own unique risks. While employees should always be vigilant and careful, the responsibility for tackling these risks falls on employers and safety managers.
In 2019, Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower published a Workplace Safety and Health Report, which showed a concerning increase in the number of injuries at work, emphasizing the necessity of imposing tighter precautions within the workplace.
The report identified slips, trips, and falls as the leading causes of most major injuries at work, accounting for 216 incidents, followed by machinery incidents at 82. Though these numbers dropped in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, accidents at work remain a serious risk to employees.
As part of its commitment to workplace safety, the Singapore government developed an Occupational Safety & Health framework, with the goal of making Singapore’s workplace safety record one of the best in the world by 2028.
To keep in line with this framework, employers and those with safety responsibilities should stay up to date with the most common workplace hazards to enable them to make informed decisions and mitigate safety risks at all times.
Each workplace has its own unique hazards and the types of hazards will vary. However, there are certain risks which can generally be found everywhere. Thankfully, these are mostly preventable with the right knowledge and careful planning.
If you are a safety manager, familiarizing yourself with these hazards is the first step to a more proactive mindset and a safer workplace.
Falls from heights are among the most common and serious workplace injuries. Those working in construction and maintenance on roofs and raised spaces are most at risk. Falling objects and tools are another serious risk in a similar vein, and both can cause serious, life-changing injuries.
Tips on how to prevent falling injuries:
The potential for injury from improper use of work equipment, as well as the ever-present possibility of machine malfunction, can be serious and even life-threatening.
Tips on how to prevent machinery malfunction injuries:
Shocks from live wires and malfunctioning equipment can happen with no warning and can easily be fatal. The urgency and danger of electrical hazards underline the importance of taking the appropriate preventive measures.
Tips on how to prevent electrical injuries:
Poorly maintained electrical equipment can lead to fire, which can cause burns at varying degrees and even death. Fire is a hazard that can happen in almost any workplace so fire extinguishers should be accessible and regularly maintained at all times.
Tips on how to prevent fire injuries:
Working in enclosed spaces can be hot and uncomfortable and can lead to oxygen deprivation. Furthermore, working with materials that emit fumes can be fatal in spaces that don’t have the correct ventilation.
Tips on how to prevent injuries in confined spaces:
This includes slips, trips, cuts, and other physical injuries from uneven surfaces and cluttered work environments. These are the most common work-related hazards, and usually the least dangerous. Nevertheless, the possibility for more serious injuries is ever-present and puts older and disabled members of your team at greater risk.
Tips on how to prevent physical injuries:
Sprains, body fatigue, and wear can accumulate over time due to repetitive tasks and awkward postures. This can result in chronic conditions that require physical therapy to correct. They can also have a drastic adverse effect on employee morale, as those who suffer from these ailments will associate work with the pain.
Tips on how to prevent ergonomic injuries:
Exposed and poorly managed industrial chemicals like cleaning products, solvents, carbon monoxide, gasoline and more can lead to skin irritation, burns, eye injuries, and blindness.
Tip on how to prevent chemical injuries:
Biological risks can originate from agents that transmit illnesses to humans, such as insect bites, bodily fluids, bacteria, and viruses. This should be a major concern of safety managers currently due to the ongoing pandemic.
Tips on how to prevent biological injuries:
Hearing damage or loss can occur from progressive and ongoing exposure to loud noises, such as from heavy machinery or other loud sounds.
Tip on how to prevent noise injuries:
It is impossible to entirely remove all risks from the workplace. However, it is the responsibility of managers and employers to minimize these risks where possible. As well as the solutions above, there are many other ways to ensure workplace safety as best you can:
With decades of experience in the safety industry, Kee Safety could be the ideal safety partner for you. Our safety experts can identify the gaps in your safety systems and frameworks, and provide solutions that are actionable and effective. We can also offer reliable, compliant safety equipment, tested exhaustively by our in-house engineers, to support you in creating an accident-free workplace. Get in touch with us today to learn more.