The Different Types of Safety Hazards

Safety hazards are present in most workplaces in some form or the other. Safety hazards include unsafe conditions which can cause injuries, illnesses and in extreme cases even death. Safety Hazards include: 
• Spills on floors or tripping hazards, such as blocked aisles or cords running across the floor
• Working from heights, including ladders, scaffolds, roofs, or any raised work area
• Unguarded machinery and moving machinery parts; guards removed or moving parts that a worker can accidentally touch
• Electrical hazards like frayed cords, missing ground pins, improper wiring
• Confined Spaces
• Machinery-related hazards (lockout/tagout, boiler safety, forklifts, etc.)

Biological Hazards
A person may be exposed to biological hazards while working with people, animals, or infectious plant materials. You may be exposed to biological hazards if you are working in schools, hospitals, laboratories, day care facilities, nursing homes, outdoor occupations, etc. 
Some of the things that you may be exposed to include: 
• Blood and other body fluids
• Fungi/mold
• Bacteria and viruses
• Plants
• Insect Bites
• Animal and bird droppings

Physical Hazards 
Factors within the working environment which can harm the body without necessarily touching it are called physical hazards. Physical hazards may include: 
• Radiation: including ionizing, non ionizing (EMF’s, microwaves, radio waves, etc.)
• High exposure to sunlight/ultraviolet rays
• Temperature extremes – hot and cold
• Constant loud noise

Ergonomic Hazards
Ergonomic hazards occur when the type of work, body positions, and working conditions put a strain on your body. They are often the hardest to spot since you don’t always immediately notice the strain on your body or the harm that these hazards pose. Short-term exposure may result in “sore muscles” the next day or in the days following exposure, but long-term exposure can result in serious long-term illnesses. Ergonomic Hazards include:
• Improperly adjusted workstations and chairs
• Frequent lifting
• Poor posture
• Awkward movements, especially if they are repetitive
• Repeating the same movements over and over
• Having to use too much force, especially if you have to do it frequently
• Vibration

Chemical Hazards
Chemical hazards are present when a worker is exposed to any chemical preparation in the workplace in any form (solid, liquid or gas). Some chemicals may be safer than others, but to some workers who are more sensitive to chemicals, even the most common solutions can cause illness, skin irritation, or breathing problems. Some chemicals which may pose a threat and that one must take precautions while around them are: 
• Liquids like cleaning products, paints, acids, solvents – ESPECIALLY if chemicals are in an unlabeled container!
• Vapors and fumes that come from welding or exposure to solvents
• Gases like acetylene, propane, carbon monoxide and helium
• Flammable materials like gasoline, solvents, and explosive chemicals.
• Pesticides