COMPANY CULTURE / NOV. 17, 2015
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Safety Issues That Could Slip Under Your Radar

Certain safety risks are a natural part of most workplaces. From work-related falls to handling dangerous machinery, these hazards are often at the forefront of a bosses mind. However, other dangers are less obvious and, therefore, more likely to slip under a managers radar. Here, we take a look at a few such risks, and the measures your business can take to mitigate them.

See Also: How to Become a Health and Safety Adviser

Waterborne infections

Switching on your air conditioning or running your hands under the tap may not seem dangerous, but hidden health risks can lurk in your firm’s plumbing system. One potential problem to be aware of is Legionnaires’ disease. People contract this infection by breathing in small droplets of water containing Legionella bacteria. The condition can cause symptoms including muscle pain, tiredness, headaches, confusion and fever. Once it infects the lungs, it can also lead to coughing, chest pains and a shortness of breath. Legionella thrive in water temperatures between 20°C and 45°C where impurities, such as algae, limescale and rust, are present. Large buildings like office blocks, hospitals and hotels are especially at risk of contamination because they have large, complex plumbing systems.

Fortunately, though, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of contamination. For example, you can make sure you store hot water at the correct temperature. According to water solutions experts, Arrow Valves, hot water must be kept at a temperature no lower than 60°C to prevent contamination. To ensure it does not cause scalding, you can install thermostatic mixing valves that blend hot and cold supplies together to provide water for wash basins and showers. You should also ensure water does not stagnate in your building’s pipework and to keep these systems clean at all times.

Stress

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Stress is another workplace danger that can go unnoticed. Pressure is a normal part of working life for many people, but if it is too intense or continues for prolonged periods of time, it can take its toll on the mental and physical wellbeing of employees. In fact, stress is now a major problem for workers in many parts of the world, and it can be exacerbated by poor management practices, badly designed offices and unreasonable workloads. High levels of work-related stress are a significant cause of sickness absence, and they can contribute to higher staff turnovers and reduced productivity.

To ensure your personnel don’t suffer as a result of excessive stress, it’s crucial that your company has effective management policies in place. You should also actively look out for signs of pressure and fatigue among your personnel and encourage your workers to speak out if they are struggling to cope.

Display screen equipment

See Also: How to Answer the Top 10 Health and Safety Officer Interview Questions

Computers may not seem especially hazardous, but because of the length of time many people spend using them, display screen equipment can be a health risk. If workstations are not set up and used properly, employees can experience eye strain, headaches, upper limb disorders and backache. To make sure your staff don’t suffer from any of these problems, you should conduct regular risk assessments and follow the official safety guidelines available.

There are a whole host of workplace dangers to be aware of, but as long as you’re meticulous in your approach to risk management, you should be able to keep your employees safe.

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