What are the 6 categories of workplace hazards?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has identified six categories of workplace hazards present in most industries at one time or another. These categories include:

Safety hazards: These hazards can cause illness, injury and death and include, but are not limited to, spills on floors, working from heights, unguarded machinery and electrical hazards.

— Biological hazards: These are hazards that are found when working with infectious plants, animals or people. The types of things that workers might be exposed to include animal and bird droppings, blood and other bodily fluids, insect bites, mold or fungi and bacteria and viruses.

— Ergonomic hazards: These hazards occur when working conditions put a strain on the body. These are often the most difficult hazards to identify because the strain or harm isn’t always immediately noticeable. Examples include vibration, improperly adjusted chairs and workstations, lifting frequently, repetitive motions and poor posture.

— Physical hazards: These are found in the environment and can be harmful even if they aren’t touched. These types of hazards include constant loud noise, radiation, temperature extremes and high exposure ultraviolet rays.

— Chemical hazards: These are any form of chemical a worker might be exposed to such as a liquid, solid or gas. Some chemicals are not as harmful as others, but even the most common cleaning products can cause irritation of the skin. Examples include pesticides, cleaning products, flammable materials, pains and acids, gases such as carbon monoxide, helium and acetylene and fumes and vapors that come from solvents or welding.

— Work organization hazards: These are hazards that lead to increased stress at work, such as a lack of respect or control, workplace violence, sexual harassment or workload demands.

As you can see, each category contains significant risks and hazards to employees. If you are injured on the job and have a workers’ compensation claim denied, an attorney can help you file an appeal.

Source: Occupational Safety & Health Administration, “Circle Chart,” accessed Jan. 01, 2016

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