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Typical Workplace Hazards

  • Tripping over boxes or other items left in a pathway;
  • Falling over something that extends into or across a pathway, like a countertop extension or power cord;
  • Getting hit by something hanging from above, like a safety light;
  • Something falling from a top shelf, like precariously stacked books or packages;
  • Being burned by something left unattended or out of place, like a hot plate;
  • Being cut by something with an exposed blade, like a paper cutter;
  • Being shocked by a frayed or loose electrical connection, like a coffeemaker not completely plugged into a wall outlet;
  • Workers not being familiar with health and safety materials, procedures and equipment.

SOLUTIONS FOR AVOIDING HAZARDS

  • Make safety and mutual consideration imperative among all personnel. Introduce safety training to every worker; reward caution and consideration;

  • Develop a team approach to eliminating hazards. Have a safety committee. Get employees in the habit of keeping paths clear, sharp edges guarded, appliances turned off (when not in use) etc.;

  • Use less dangerous alternatives like microwaves, cool CFL light bulbs, and equipment with built-in safety features, such as safety paper cutters. Have electrical outlets in many places, so cords don't need to be draped. Use typical earthquake safety precautions, such as latches on cabinets and lips or non-skid padding on shelves, to keep things from falling;

  • Inform employees when an unavoidable hazard is present, such as a wet floor, an open elevator or an excavation. Orient blind employees to the locations of new or current hazards;

  • If you have written material, signs or posters addressing safety issues, make sure blind employees receive the same information in a form accessible to them. Labelling on workplace safety and first-aid devices should also be familiar and available in alternate formats;

  • In the event of emergencies or evacuation drills, specific members of staff could be designated to assist employees with vision impairments. A buddy system could be used for all employees;

  • Visual alarms (flashing lights) for blind persons who are also hearing impaired should be installed in all areas of the premises, including the washrooms;

  • All employees have to be familiar with escape routes and safety procedures. Exit routes and procedures should be designed to cater to people who move more slowly. Exit routes must be clearly indicated and labelled.