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What are common workplace hazards that could cause accidents?

Every day, West Virginia residents go to work to make a living. While some workers spend their workday in an office or even a vehicle, others work in factories, warehouses, mines and construction sites. Thus, some workers face more dangers throughout the workday than other workers. While no one ever expects to suffer serious injuries in a workplace accident, these incidents can occur due to hazards in the work environment.

What are common workplace hazards that could cause accidents? The National Safety Council, which focuses on workplace health and safety, uses its team of consultants to travel across the country to visit worksites and conduct safety audits. Based on their findings, they discovered seven common safety hazards in the workplace.

The first involves working at heights. Falls in the workplace are frequently the cause for workplace injuries and fatalities. Falls accounted for 14 percent of all workplace fatalities in 2014. This emphasizes the importance of fall protection and safety gear. The second common hazard is poor housekeeping. This refers to clutter in the work environment that blocks fire exits, aisles and emergency exits. This also includes over-stacking loads on racks in a warehouse, causing them to come too close to the sprinkler head, which limits its efficiency in an emergency. Moreover, slips, trips and falls often result from clutter, leaks or standing water in the workplace.

Coming in third is electrical, which focuses on extension cords. Inappropriate use of extension cords is a major hazard that could result in a serious injury. The fourth common hazard involves forklifts. Sometimes workers are compelled to work quickly, which is when many accidents involving forklifts occur. The fifth spot on the list is lockout or tagout procedures. This refers to having a proper procedure in place for securing potentially dangerous equipment. When one worker leave the workplace and does not properly lock the equipment, another worker could suffer injuries.

Chemicals are the sixth most common hazard in the workplace. If chemicals are not properly organized and handled, they can cause serious accidents. Lastly, the seventh spot involves confined spaces. Working in a confined place presents many risks, and if an employer does not obtain the proper permits and conduct a risk assessment, this could result in a serious accident.

When an employee is injured in the workplace, they might require time off from work. In this situation, a worker could file for workers' compensation benefits. This could help them recover benefits for lost wages, medical bills and other damages.

Source: Safetyandhealthmagazine.com, "7 common workplace safety hazards," Kyle W. Morrison, May 22, 2016

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