An occupation, by definition, is the principal activity of one's life that he/she engages in, to earn money. Every occupation comes along with certain hazards. One should take the due safety measures in order to safeguard his/her life. It is also the prime responsibility of the employing organizations to look after the safety of their employees.
It is essential for you to understand the various hazards that different occupations have. But before delving deeper into the subject, you must know what a hazard is. A hazard is something that can prove harmful if not controlled. In order to measure the risks involved in an occupation, it is necessary to analyze the occupational hazards and implement suitable measures to ensure occupational safety. Here is an overview of the different kinds of workplace hazards.
Employees may suffer from physical injuries from handling machines. Certain mechanical processes can pose a threat to the physical well-being of the workmen. Many of the shop floor jobs involve a direct interaction between the machines and the workmen, in critical mechanical processes. Workers involved in such jobs are at a risk of serious physical injuries. Certain occupations require employees to work with heavy objects, radiation, chemical substances, or even harmful biological agents, which are bound to pose a threat to their health.
Electrical and lighting systems, boilers, steam engines and certain equipment involve the risks of fire hazards. Any malfunctioning of the machinery or a fault in the implementation of industrial processes can invite a serious threat to the overall well-being of the workmen. Artificially maintained temperature and pressure conditions can also prove harmful to the employees working in an artificial environment.
The pollution that results from certain industrial processes can translate into a serious health hazard. Large machines used in industries create noise pollution. Dangerous synthetic chemicals, waste products from industrial processes, smoke, and other dangerous gases, which are a bi-product of certain chemical processes, impose a severe threat to the health and well-being of the workers.
Miners, archaeologists, and professional divers as also space researchers, scientists, and investors risk their lives during certain life-threatening or potentially dangerous scientific experiments they conduct. Scientists have endowed mankind with brilliant discoveries, sometimes risking their health and even life. Take the example of Marie Curie, who died of overexposure to radiation, as the adverse effects of radiation were not known when she was working with radioactive elements. This underlines the importance of understanding occupational hazards so that correct safety measures are taken.
Mechanical processes like cutting, crushing, explosion and shearing, accidents like falling from heights, injuries resulting from impact of heavy objects and electric shocks are some of the other major occupational hazards. Health hazards resulting from improper ergonomic design is also an important workplace hazard.
Occupational hazards are also concerned with psychological issues. It is important for the employing organizations to look after the mental well-being of their employees. Individuals experience work-related stress, which hampers their overall health. Bullying, verbal or sexual harassment and abuse pose a serious threat to the emotional well-being of employees.
Working in a safe and healthy environment is one of the fundamental rights of employees. It is one of the primary duties of employing organizations to ensure employee safety.