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What Ergonomic Hazards Pose an Immediate Threat to Employee Health and Safety?

Posted by EHS Insight Resources on September 13, 2021 at 8:32 AM

When most people think of ergonomics, they think of things that cause musculoskeletal injuries, typically over an extended period of time. But that’s not always the case with ergonomic hazards you’ll find at the workplace. Some ergonomic hazards pose immediate threats to an employee’s safety, even if it doesn’t seem like it. Let’s take a look at some of the ergonomic hazards that create more of a short-term threat to an employee’s health and safety.

Repetitive Actions

Most of the time, repetitive actions can cause long-term harm to a person’s body, which is why workers need to take breaks and stretch regularly if their job entails repetitive motions. But even repetitive motions over a shorter period of time can lead to sore muscles and joints, especially if it’s a strenuous physical activity. For any job like this, regular breaks should be mandatory.

Pulling, Lifting, Carrying

This is another ergonomic hazard that can have short-term or long-term consequences. If an employee is pulling or lifting heavy objects throughout their shift, they will be sore at the end of the day. If they aren’t careful or lifting items in an ergonomically sound way, pulled muscles or serious back injuries are possible. Any time there is a lot of force involved, a sudden injury is always possible if employees haven’t been trained to perform their duties the right way.

Extreme Heat or Cold

Extreme temperatures surely have the ability to create immediate dangers for employees whether they’re hot or cold. Workers who are in cold temperatures without proper protection could experience hypothermia and frostbite a lot quicker than most people realize. On the other hand, heatstroke can be equally serious with symptoms coming on quickly. Keeping workers out of extreme temperatures is always the best option. But if that’s not possible, employees need a way of taking a break from those temperatures regularly while also wearing the right clothing and having access to any safety equipment they might need.

Poor Lighting

Insufficient lighting is an ergonomic hazard that few people tend to realize they’re experiencing. They also seem to think that it will only be a long-term issue when it comes to harming their eyesight. However, a strong glare can impair someone’s vision and lead to accidents in the workplace. Strained eyes due to poor lighting can also cause headaches and migraines that could also hinder their work performance or cause distractions that lead to accidents.

Vibration

Most people don’t recognize the risk created by tools that tend to vibrate, including jackhammers. Obviously, these tools are unavoidable in some industries, but workers should still be aware of the risks they create. The vibration can decrease blood flow, which leads to numbness and muscle fatigue. In turn, that can lead to unexpected mishaps that cause accidents.

Headache Risks

Nobody likes having a headache, but we often don’t realize that headaches can lead to mistakes that create hazards in the workplace. When we have a headache, we feel tired and our concentration can wain. We might even have blurry vision or nausea. Needless to say, nobody should be working under those conditions. Simple things like poor lighting and posture can bring on a headache, creating far from ideal working conditions, which means that even simple ergonomic hazards can have immediate consequences for workplace safety. 

Stay Ahead of Hazards with Safety Management Software

If you want to get a better handle on all workplace hazards, you need to have the right safety management software. At EHS Insight, we offer safety solutions that help companies track and monitor all workplace hazards so that they can be mitigated. Our software also aids with training, compliance, communication, and more to make sure that no part of occupational health and safety is overlooked.

If you want to do everything possible to create a safe workplace, give us a call and we can have our software up and running before you know it. 

Topics: Workplace Health and Safety, EHS Management, Safety Management, Ergonomics

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