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Article Index
Health and Safety Risk Assessment
The Process
Accidents Waiting to Happen
Common Hazards
Longer-term Health Risks
Existing Precautions
Improving Safety
Help and Advice

Health and Safety Risk Assessment

3. Common Hazards

A hazard is something that has the potential to harm or injure someone. Machinery, powertools and inflammable or corrosive materials can create specific accident hazards in the workplace.

But even an office with just a few items of office machinery, consumables, heaters, fans and kettles could contain many hazards.

3.1 Unsafe electrical installations (eg old or damaged wiring or overloaded sockets) can start fires or cause electric shocks.

  • Electrical equipment can be particularly hazardous if it is poorly maintained or portable.

3.2 Machinery can cut or catch people, or can emit harmful substancesl, particles or fumes.

  • Machines may also create unacceptable levels of noise, especially if poorly maintained.
  • All moving vehicles are potentially dangerous.
  • Some machinery is inherently hazardous (eg pressure boilers, lifts, lathes).

3.3 Any hazardous substances that you use or produce could be a potential cause of injury or ill health.

  • Inflammable goods that are not properly stored present a fire hazard.
  • Solid or liquid waste that is not properly treated or disposed of can be a health or fire hazard.
  • Toxic or corrosive materials may cause poisoning or burns.

3.4 There may be special hazards resulting from the nature of your business. For example:

  • Burns and scalds in catering businesses.
  • Falling objects on construction sites.
  • Dangerous chemicals, tools or machinery associated with your particular industry (eg solvents, presses).
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