unsafe workplace

It’s unfortunately true that many members of the workforce are unhappy with their jobs. Only 49% of Americans report that they are “very satisfied” with their jobs, making it clear that there is room for improvement. Of course, there’s a difference between disliking your job and feeling unsafe at your job. Anybody who falls into the latter of these categories should make note of the problem, document any known safety issues, and research their rights as an employee. An unsafe workplace can cause injuries and even death, so it’s important that employers take responsibility for safety. Consider the following four signs that indicate a workplace may be unsafe.

Physical Conditions That Impede Work

The physical conditions of a workplace are a reliable indication of its safety — or lack thereof. If these conditions happen to impede work, it poses a safety risk to all employees. An associate who works at a retail store, for example, may face unsafe physical conditions if they must sort merchandise in a storeroom that’s filled with heavy, unsafely stacked boxes. These boxes have fallen in the past and narrowly missed the store’s employees. The physical conditions of the job pose an obvious risk to staff, so this is an unsafe environment.

Presence of Known Toxins or Hazards

Physical conditions in a workplace can be hazardous, but there are other risks that may make a workplace unsafe, too. If there are toxins or other environmental hazards present, workers’ health may gradually be damaged. The presence of environmental hazards is inevitable in some industries, though, so the Occupational Safety and Health Administration sets permissible exposure limits, These limits are intended to ensure that workers’ exposure to harmful chemicals and other toxins is limited. If workers’ exposure exceeds the limits dictated by OSHA, it is an unsafe environment.

Insufficient Training for Hazardous Tasks

Sometimes a workplace may appear to be acceptably safe, but hazards still exist due to ineffective management. Insufficient training is one of the best examples of this. If a new hire at a warehouse is asked to operate a forklift on their second shift, an obvious hazard exists. The worker is not certified or trained properly, so it is unsafe for them to operate this equipment. When trained properly, it may be perfectly safe, but the lack of training makes the workplace unsafe.

Lack of Personal Protective Equipment

In environments where known environmental hazards exist, personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face masks or respirators is necessary. Other examples of PPE include hardhats on a construction site or latex gloves in a healthcare setting. What if an employer fails to provide staff members with the necessary PPE? This can expose workers to unnecessary risks and make a workplace unsafe.

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