Workplace hazards

Workplace hazards

Learning to spot a workplace hazard before an incident happens is key to staying safe.

Types of hazards

Here are examples of the 4 main types of workplace hazards:

Physical hazards
  • using the same tool all day long
  • being crushed by equipment
  • tripping or falling

Biological hazards
  • bee stings
  • allergic reaction to plants, insects or mold
  • being in contact with materials where viruses or bacteria are present

Chemical hazards
  • using cleaning products regularly
  • using paint materials regularly
  • using toxic chemicals

Psychosocial hazards
  • intimidation, verbal abuse
  • long working hours
  • rotating shift work

Job-specific hazards

Different jobs have different health and safety hazards. Which hazards are unique to your job?

Top workplace dangers

Alberta OHS looked at claims from young workers injured on the job and identified the most dangerous tasks. In general, we found that 15 to 19-year olds suffer different injuries than 20 to 24-year olds.

Top 10 dangers for 15 to 19-year olds
  1. Struck by object (eg. machinery, automobile) – causing superficial wounds.
  2. Lifting, pulling, turning or holding objects – causing sprains, strain and tears.
  3. Bending, climbing, twisting, slipping or tripping – causing sprains, strain and tears.
  4. Working with machinery – causing open wounds.
  5. Falling on same level – causing sprains, strain and tears.
  6. Struck against object (e.g. machinery, automobile) – causing open wounds.
  7. Exposure to harmful substances or environments – causing burns.
  8. Falling to lower level – causing sprains, strain and tears.
  9. Contact with object/equipment – causing open wounds.
  10. Transportation accidents – causing sprains, strain and tears

Top 10 dangers for 20 to 24-year olds
  1. Lifting, pulling, turning or holding objects – causing sprains strains, tears.
  2. Struck by object (eg. machinery, automobile) – causing superficial wounds.
  3. Bending, climbing, twisting, slipping or tripping – causing sprains, strain and tears.
  4. Falling on same level – causing sprains, strain and tears.
  5. Working with machinery – causing other traumatic injuries and disorders.
  6. Struck against object (eg. machinery, automobile) – parts and materials causing open wounds.
  7. Exposure to harmful substances or environments – causing burns.
  8. Falling to lower level – causing sprains, strain and tears.
  9. Transportation accidents – causing sprains strains, tears.
  10. Contact with object/equipment – causing open wounds.

Definitions

Parts and materials:
  • building materials – solid elements, fasteners, connectors, ropes, and ties, hoisting accessories, machine, tool, and electric parts
  • metal materials – nonstructural, tars, sealants, caulking, and insulating material, tarps and sheeting
  • nonmetal vehicle and mobile equipment parts

Containers: dishes, cups and glasses, luggage, non-pressurized containers, pressurized containers, skids and pallets, variable-restraint containers

Bodily reaction: injury or illness resulting from free bodily motion, excessive physical effort, or repetition of a bodily motion

Structures and surfaces: building systems, floors, walkways, and ground surfaces, other structural elements, structures

Exposure to harmful substances or environments: cases related to injuries or illnesses resulting from:
  • contact with electric current
  • contact with temperature extremes
  • exposure to noxious or allergenic substances, etc.

*Source: WCB data from 2011 to 2015

Reasons for injuries

Some of the reasons young workers are at a greater risk for injury at work are:
  • lack of work experience and training
  • lack of confidence or understanding of their rights as workers
  • being given more physically-demanding jobs
  • feeling of invincibility
  • reluctance to ask questions
  • being distracted and having other things on their mind
  • pace of work

Are you at risk?

Take this quiz to find out what types of risk factors you deal with at work.

Resources

Created:
Modified: 2017-07-14
PID: 3109

Contact OHS

1-866-415-8690 (toll-free)
780-415-8690 (Edmonton)

TTY: 780-427-9999 (Edmonton)
TTY: 1-800-232-7215

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