Common Hazards in the Workplace

Common hazards in the workplace 

In this article we will highlight some of the most common hazards found in the workplace, and by identifying them you can ensure you implement suitable control measures to minimise the risks associated with them.

What is a hazard?

Firstly, we should cover what a hazard actually is.

A hazard is anything that has the potential to cause harm, damage or loss. This includes injuries, ill-health and damage to properties, equipment etc.

Hazards generally fall into six broad groups:

  • Mechanical – shearing, cutting, punctures etc.
  • Physical – manual handling, slips, trips and falls etc.
  • Chemical – acids, corrosive agents and harmful substances.
  • Environmental – weather, noise, heat etc.
  • Biological – Weil’s Disease, Leptospirosis, Legionella etc.
  • Organisational – work pressures, bullying, management instruction etc.

It is best to be familiar with all of these groups as most, if not all of them, are applicable to all organisations across all industries.

Slips Trips and Falls

  1. Slips, Trips and Falls Hazard

Slips, trips and falls can occur from many hazards including damaged stairs and flooring, obstructed walkways and trailing cables. The injuries that can occur from a slip, trip and fall are also broad, from minor injuries including sprains and bruising, to death or incapacitation (depending on the circumstances and situation).

There are some simple, cost-effective control measures you can implement to reduce the risks from slips, trips and falls. The main one is to ensure good house-keeping across all areas of the workplace, which includes ensuring items are stored correctly and undertaking regular inspections of the workplace to ensure everywhere is clear and in sufficient order.

Hazardous Substances

  1. Hazardous Substances

Hazardous substances come in many different forms, and some you might use all the time in your day-to-day work. Common hazardous substances in the workplace include bleach, paint, MDF and white spirit.

The key things you can do to control the risks associated with hazardous substances is to undertake risk assessments (for substances that require them), and to implement control measures using the hierarchy of control, which ranks areas of controls in order of their effectiveness.

Our COSHH Online course goes into more details about the hierarchy of control and the types of control measures you can implement. Click here for more information about the course.  

 Ergonomic Hazards

  1. Ergonomic Hazards

Ergonomics is the study of the interface between the person, the equipment and the environment, and refers to physical factors which harms the musculo-skeletal system.

One of the biggest ergonomic hazards in most organisations is incorrect workstation set-up. Finding a balance between comfort and functionality is essential to reduce the risk of damage to discomfort as a result of using your workstation.

Our free DSE workstation self-assessment form allows you to undertake a risk assessment of your workstation, ensuring they are adequately equipped and adjustable to suit the user’s needs. Download the form here.

Fire Hazards

  1. Fire Hazards

The risk of a fire starting in your workplace is greatly reduced if fire hazards are identified, and suitable control measures are put in place.

Common fire hazards include:

  • Faulty electrical equipment.
  • Build-up of waste such as paper, cardboard and other combustible materials.
  • Flammable liquids being stored incorrectly.
  • Overloading of sockets.
  • Discarded cigarettes.

There are many control measures that must be implemented to control the risk of fires, including undertaking a fire risk assessment and having the correct fire safety installations such as fire alarms and extinguishers. Some control measures may need to be provided by professionals such as Safetyboss, due to the high risk nature of fires.


Here we have highlighted just a few of the key health and safety hazards found in the workplace. If you have any questions about any of the hazards listed above, or how to implement suitable control measures in your workplace contact us today on 01394 389683 or