An environmental hazard is any hazard that present a danger to a surrounding environment. Environmental hazards in the workplace can range from something as simple as cleaning products not stored properly to the improper handling of bodily fluids.
Hazards can be categorized in five types:
* WHY SHOULD WE EVALUATE THE WORKPLACE ENVIRONMENT?
* When people are working in situations that suit their physical and mental abilities, the correct fit between the person and the work task is accomplished. ...view middle of the document...
‘Nuisance’ noise can be annoying and distracting and result in reduced job performance and satisfaction.
5 Lighting. Lighting levels need to be appropriate to the task and must comply with Australian Standard 1680. Working in dim or overbright work environments can result in eyestrain, headaches, irritability and, inevitably, reduced productivity. Light sources, including the sun, can create unwanted reflections, glare and shadows in the workplace that can cause discomfort and distraction, and can interfere with the performance of visual tasks.
6 Ventilation, air quality and thermal comfort. Ventilation is important for the control of dust, fumes, gases, aerosols, climate and thermal comfort factors. Exposure to different types of dust can result in fibrosis of the lung, allergic reactions and asthma attacks. Various vapours, gases and aerosols have the ability to cause respiratory and skin damage. Extremes of heat can reduce concentration and motivation and cause a number of heat-related illnesses. Extremes of heat can also reduce tolerance to chemical and noise exposure, and increase the risk of heart attacks.
7 Vibration. Whole body vibration, e.g. from riding a mower, can affect comfort and performance even at low levels and can cause damage to the spine, stomach pain and gastrointestinal complaints. Hand-arm vibration, such as from hand tools, can have negative effects on muscles and the skeleton, and can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome, low-back pain and vibration white finger, for example.
8 Radiation. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun can induce potentially lethal skin cancers. Exposure to direct sun, particularly between the hours of eleven and two, can result in sunburn, headaches and fatigue. Different people have varying degrees of sensitivity to the sun, e.g. fair freckled skin often burns more quickly than olive skin. Precautions for avoiding sun exposure should be followed diligently by everybody.
* The work area should be set up according to ergonomic design principles. For each task, the following should be considered: frequency and flow of work; materials and equipment required; and the priority of different tasks. Basic guidelines to follow in the design of the work area to enable the efficient management of tasks include:
9 importance — placing the most important items in the most advantageous or accessible locations;
10 frequency of use — placing the most frequently used items within the easiest reach;
11 function — materials and equipment with closely related functions should be grouped together;
12 sequence of use — materials and equipment that are commonly used in sequence should be grouped together;
13 work/rest schedules — work tasks should be varied to change body position and mental activities.
14 optimal positioning — positioning materials and equipment to reduce physical hazards and increase useability, e.g. placing a...