The workplace is full of many types of health and safety hazards, and exposure to these hazards can be harmful, and sometimes fatal, to employees. OSHA, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, mandates employers to adhere to regulated workplace safety requirements to eliminate hazards and maintain a safe, accident-free workplace.
Many health and safety hazards can be eliminated through the use of proper signage. The Health and Safety Executive website explains that safety signs must be used at work whenever a safety hazard has not been able to be completely eliminated by the employer. The many types of warning and caution signs each have different implications. Danger signs, for instance, are used for more severely hazardous work areas, while caution signs are used to warn employees of potential risks.
OSHA explains that failure to use safety signs could lead to accidental injury, as well as property damage. Proper signage must be used with biological hazards, chemicals, heavy machinery and equipment, large vehicles and electrical devices. In office environments, caution signs should be put up whenever walking surfaces are wet or slippery, when parts of the building are under repair and on the bottles of cleaning agents, to illustrate what types of dangers the chemicals can cause.
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Personal Protective Equipment
It is a workplace requirement, per OSHA, for employers to provide their staff with the appropriate personal protective equipment to keep employees safe when performing their jobs. Personal protective equipment ranges from goggles to cover the eyes to respiratory devices, and must be used whenever there are hazardous environments, or when employees are working with flying particles or objects, chemical hazards or mechanical irritants.
OSHA explains that employers must make sure that there is enough personal protective equipment for all employees, and that the equipment fits the employees properly. Goggles that are too loose, for instance, will not adequately shield and protect the eyes.
Employees have the right to a sanitary work environment, so OSHA has requirements that employers must abide by to ensure good housekeeping practices. Waste must be disposed of regularly and in a way that does not cause unsanitary conditions, including spills or odors in public areas. Offices or enclosed workspaces must be constructed in a way that prevents the entrance of vermin, as rodents and insects pose a health hazard to people. Toilet facilities must be kept tidy and cleaned regularly with chemical agents that disinfect bacteria. Spills and leaks must be mopped up and addressed immediately to avoid any toxicity hazards, as well as to avoid slip-and-fall accidents.
Kyra Sheahan has been a writer for various publications since 2008. Her work has been featured in "The Desert Leaf" and "Kentucky Doc Magazine," covering health and wellness, environmental conservatism and DIY crafts. Sheahan holds an M.B.A. with an emphasis in finance.