Monday, 9 June 2014

Physical Hazards to be found in the workplace

       There are many physical hazards to be found in the workplace and these can have a detrimental effect on the productivity of the staff. Employers should ensure the occupational health and safety of stand by providing a safe work environment and taking into consideration noise, vibration, air quality, office furniture and equipment, office décor, workplace conditions and lighting.


High level irritating sound/noise is dangerous and can lead to:
·        High error rate
·        Difficulty in concentrating on tasks
·        Annoyance
·        Increased stress levels
·        Headaches
·       Interference with verbal communication, leading to misinterpretation of instructions
·        Noise-induced hearing loss

External Noise

            This may be due to the location of the building, and may come from heavy traffic, being under an aircraft flight path or be due to the activities of nearby industry. Although complete elimination of noise is not possible, the following will be minimized this problem:
  • Provision of thick masonry walls
  • Installation of acoustic ceilings
  • Installation of double-glazed windows
Internal Noise

            A special scale is used to measure noise. General points for internal noise reduction include:
  • Control noise at its source
  • Relocate or place equipment such as computers, word processors an photocopies in sound-proof booths, enclosures or rooms
  • Use noise-reducing pads to buffer sound
  • Use drapes and carpets to help with sound absorption
  • Choose office machines which are quiet
  • Request acoustic hoods for items such as noisy printers and computers

Vibration is a common industrial hazard. It is often caused by the rapid to and from motion of power-driven machines or tools. Vibration can affect the whole body and/or hands and arms. Intense exposure can result in both short and long term physical disorders such as:
  • High blood pressure
  • Digestive and stomach ailment
  • Discomfort
  • Fatigue
  • Giddiness
  • Joint and home damage
  • Motion sickness
  • Nervous system damage, such as numbness
 General points for vibration reduction are:
  • Install automated systems for the job
  • Control vibration noise at its source
  • Re-design equipment and tools
  • Implement regular rest periods
  • Use insulation and remote controls
  • Use vibration-reduced equipment
  • Place machinery or equipment on vibration-dampening mounts
 Air quality and ventilation

            Small offices may use a portable air conditioner which can be located in different areas when required. Many large offices have a centrally controlled system which is operated only by authorized personnel. Both systems are used to provide the following benefits for staff.

Temperature and humidity control

            Maintaining comfortable levels of heat and moisture is necessary for the well-being of employees. This is also an important factor for the care and protection of computer-based equipment.

            Air conditioning/reverse cycle heating, fans or freestanding heaters may be used to meet individual needs.

Air control

            Under floor systems are becoming popular methods or air control. The floor is raised and. From the cavity below (plenum), the air is distributed into the working areas through grilles. Where there is no air conditioning, a good flow of air results from opening a window and a door opposite one another.

General points to consider regarding air quality and temperature:
  • Maintain comfortable levels of heat and cold
  • Provide a good flow of air
  • Provide cool rest areas
  • Provide appropriate rest breaks
  • Ensure there is access to hot or cold drinks, depending on requirements.

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