Category: Workplace Safety

How Visual Workplaces Can Enhance Safety and Efficiency

In today’s fast-paced work environments, the concept of a visual workplace has gained increasing recognition for its potential to enhance safety and efficiency. From desktop organization to physical office layouts, visuals can both assist in and hinder safety and efficiency. From clearly labeling emergency exits and hazardous locations to creatively using color coding and visuals to remind employees of safety procedures, visuals can make all the difference in a safe and efficient workplace.

In this blog post, we’ll explore how visually creating a workplace can lead to increased safety and productivity. We’ll also look at the tangible effects that visuals can have on employee engagement, morale, and job satisfaction. Finally, we’ll review best practices and takeaways to help create a visibly safer and more efficient workplace. Ready? Let’s dive in!

Quick Overview

A visual workplace reduces complexity and clutter in the workspace, allowing employees to easily identify potential hazards. It also ensures that workers are aware of how to safely navigate their workspace and operate machinery, reducing the risk of accidents or injury.

Why Is Visibility in the Workplace Important?

Visibility in the workplace is paramount for creating an efficient, safe, and productive environment. Having a visual presence reduces the amount of time wasted due to decreased communication between coworkers. This can lead to faster workflow, improved customer service, and a decrease in hazardous safety risks. Visual cues also improve clarity and help streamline processes so that people can easily identify their responsibilities and duties. In addition, visibility helps ensure accountability and deters irresponsible behavior.

The importance of visibility in the workplace is also important for encouraging productivity and engagement. By having an open office area with complete transparency, employees are more likely to feel a sense of shared responsibility for the company’s success and are more likely to stay focused on their tasks. The increased visibility can also create strong collaboration between individuals as they become familiar with each other’s roles and expertise.

The argument against visual workplaces is that too much visibility can cause stress due to prying eyes; however, this can be addressed through employee complaints or surveys to ensure workers are comfortable. It is also important to provide designated break areas away from monitors or workspaces so that workers have a space where they can re-center throughout the day without interruption.

Ultimately, visibility encourages smoother communication, collaboration, and accountability within the workplace—all essential elements for promoting team efficiency and safety. As such, transitioning to ways of enhancing communication between employees is necessary for solidifying effective work practices throughout the organization.

Enhancing Communication Between Employees

Enhanced communication between employees is a key factor when considering how to use the visibility of the workplace to increase productivity. When individuals feel connected through open channels of communication, they are more likely to work together with greater efficiency. 

However, some managers may worry that increased communication between workers will be disruptive and lead to lower productivity. There is evidence that this can happen, which emphasizes the importance of clear guidelines for communicating with colleagues and maintaining a focused workflow. Establishing these protocols can ensure that conversations remain respectful and productive and do not disrupt workflows unnecessarily.

Having visibility in the workplace makes it easier for team members to communicate with each other without having to leave their workspace. With clear pathways of communication laid out, such as in-person check-ins or digital message boards, employees can stay on task while ensuring that tasks are completed on schedule. This connection between individuals allows for better coordination as well as an improved team dynamic overall.

The importance of enforcing efficient yet open dialogue is paramount to making sure a visual workplace functions properly. By creating an environment where visibility and communication go hand-in-hand, organizations can ensure maximum productivity and provide employees with the support they need to succeed at their tasks. With appropriate measures put in place for both visibility and communication, successful workplace implementations will be enabled. The next section will look further into the methods employed for creating visual workplaces through signs and posters.

Creating a Visual Workplace Through Signs and Posters

Following the successful implementation of communication enhancements between employees, the next step in creating a visual workplace is to utilize signs and posters. Signs help to remind personnel of the protocols they are required to adhere to, while posters can be used for educational and informative purposes. Health and safety regulations take priority in this regard, as signage outlining safety procedures must be clearly visible and easily understood by all workers. Further, integrating visuals into an organization’s culture can result in greater compliance with given safety policies.

However, not all signs and posters are created equal; it’s essential to strike a balance between functionality and aesthetics. Signs should be written in an easy-to-understand language without being overly verbose, employing something such as clear directional phrases or meaningful symbols that don’t require words at all. Meanwhile, bright, bold colors have been shown to increase visibility and comprehension (depending on the size of the poster). By successfully integrating visuals into your workspace, you can create an environment that both looks the part and keeps teams informed while still allowing necessary daily operations to occur without complications or errors.

Once functional yet aesthetically pleasing signs and posters have been established within a workplace, it’s time to begin utilizing visual elements to plan and organize projects, tasks, processes, workflows, and more. This subject provides further opportunities to increase safety and efficiency within your establishment as well as potentially reduce overall costs, topics that will be discussed in our next section.

Key Points to Know

Visual elements in the workplace can be used to increase safety and efficiency while also providing a visually pleasing environment. Signs and posters should incorporate easy-to-understand language, bright and bold colors, and meaningful symbols for the best effect. Utilizing visuals for planning and organizing projects, tasks, processes, workflows, etc., can reduce costs and increase safety.

Utilizing Visual Elements to Plan and Organize

After establishing a visual workplace with signs and posters, it becomes crucial to utilize additional visual elements for effective planning and organization. These elements include barcode systems, checklists, and dashboards.

Leveraging Visual Tools for Workplace Planning

The utilization of these visual elements may help employees complete tasks faster as they can view their progress without having to ask managers or coworkers for status updates. Employees can rapidly identify pending tasks and estimate the time required for each, enabling them to adjust their workloads accurately. Moreover, they can track and report this information to facilitate managers’ progress monitoring.

On the other hand, some argue that excessive reliance on visual elements for tracking may result in data entry errors or confuse employees with insufficient training time. When using visual elements, it becomes crucial to ensure clear communication through signage or documentation and provide technical instruction if necessary. Additionally, reviewing the entered data for accuracy is essential.

Ultimately, when planning and organizing an efficient workplace, visual elements can play a significant role in providing clarity while helping reduce the amount of human error that can occur with more traditional methods. Utilizing signs and posters, coupled with well-implemented visual tracking systems, provides a comprehensive understanding of progress within a given workspace. This allows employees to approach their tasks with ease of comprehension while also offering managers a clear outlook on the overall operations. By creating an environment grounded in visuals instead of paperwork, everyone involved can benefit from increased safety and efficiency. Moving forward, companies should consider adding surveillance systems to further enhance safety on the job site while protecting personnel from potential harm.

Enhancing Safety With Surveillance Systems

When it comes to safety in a visual workplace, surveillance systems may be a key component. Surveillance systems can provide monitoring and video recording of potentially hazardous areas. This can not only deter potential onsite mishaps, but if one should occur, the CCTV footage may provide valuable insights in terms of accident investigation and prevention. Opponents of such systems have expressed privacy concerns; however, the implementation of strict protocols can help ensure adherence to privacy requirements. Additionally, organizations can leverage surveillance systems judiciously to instill a sense of security among staff and other stakeholders.

From the employer’s point of view, CC TV cameras can serve as surveillance for remote work locations that are otherwise difficult to manage from afar. In cases requiring access control for restricted areas like server rooms or hazardous material warehouses, such systems can remotely grant access to authorized personnel as needed. With contemporary advancements in AI-enabled video analytics, organizations now have access to highly intelligent motion sensing and facial recognition capabilities that help increase the efficacy of CCTV systems.

Like any decision involving safety, one must assess potential risks and rewards before investing in any surveillance system. Organizations should always consider the scope of protection desired as well as the impact on privacy and other related factors before making any final decisions. In conclusion, when used prudently and with appropriate process controls, surveillance systems can be an effective tool that helps create safer environments within visual workplaces. With this information in mind, it’s now important to consider the advantages such an environment has when it comes to maintaining workplace safety.

Benefits of a Visual Workplace for Safety

A visual workplace can be a great way to enhance safety in the workplace, both visually and physically. Surveillance systems have an essential role to play in improving safety on the job, but they do not encompass the entire safety strategy that visual workplaces bring to the table. There are many advantages to implementing a comprehensive visual workplace program, with improved safety being one of the core benefits.

Awareness and Hazard Recognition

One advantage of a visual workplace for safety is that it helps workers become more aware of their surroundings and potential hazards. Visuals such as signs, symbols, posters, and other visuals placed strategically around the workspace can provide quick reminders about crucial safety practices or procedures to follow. Visual cues can help workers recognize risks or unsafe conditions more easily, reinforcing the importance of following safety protocols. Additionally, signage can remind workers to wear protective equipment when working with dangerous materials or machinery.

Communication Channels for Safety

Another benefit of a visual workplace is that it can serve as a communication system between workers and management or supervisors. Through posters and other visuals, leaders can quickly get essential information out about changes in policies or procedures related to workplace safety without having to rely solely on verbal communication (which may not reach everyone in time). Visual elements can also make it easier for everyone on site, regardless of language barriers, to grasp safety compliance expectations.

Of course, there are those who argue that implementing a visual workplace program is too costly or time-consuming compared to traditional methods alone. However, investing in a comprehensive visual workplace program comes with its own set of cost savings, such as decreased training time and fewer incurred liabilities due to increased worker knowledge of safety protocols and risks. Ultimately, these cost savings would far outweigh any initial monetary costs associated with implementing a visual workplace program.

A visual workplace is not only beneficial for increasing overall efficiency in the workplace; it is also an invaluable resource for instilling safe behavior among employees. With familiar visuals ranging from instructional symbols to pictograms to warning labels posted throughout the workspace, a comprehensive visual workplace program can help create a safer environment while simultaneously increasing productivity levels on the job.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

What benefits does a visual workplace offer in terms of safety?

A visual workplace offers a range of safety benefits, including improved hazard awareness, better communication, and increased worker engagement. By displaying safety guidelines in a visual format, we make workers aware of potential hazards and how to prevent them. Additionally, visual guidance can make communication within the workplace more efficient, resulting in less confusion and fewer accidents. Finally, an engaging visual environment increases worker involvement in the safe operation of their work area. This allows for better monitoring and more effective implementation of safety protocols that can reduce risk and improve overall workplace safety.

What types of visual elements promote workplace safety?

Visuals such as floor markings, posters featuring safety protocols and reminders, traffic-light-style checklists, infographics or diagrams representing complex processes and procedures, labels or signs indicating hazards on the floor or in a designated area, and colored visual cues to delineate between different types of spaces can all promote workplace safety. Using bold colors and symbols can draw attention to the most important safety components within a space, helping people recognize when they need to take extra steps to ensure their own safety. Floor markings can clearly designate restricted areas or mark a safe path for personnel to follow. Posters and diagrams can demonstrate procedures in detail so employees know the correct way to handle certain situations. Colored labels and signs can easily indicate dangerous areas in any workplace. Together, these visuals provide concise information on how personnel should interact with their environment while still working efficiently.

How can employers ensure the visual workplace remains safe?

Employers can ensure the visual workplace remains safe by implementing a few key strategies. First, they should establish clear safety-related policies that strictly adhere to industry and local safety regulations. This should include providing employees with training on proper safety etiquette for the workplace, such as wearing protective gear and following prescribed procedures. Additionally, employers should encourage employees to be vigilant and report any safety concerns or hazards immediately to management. Finally, employers should regularly inspect the workplace and repair any malfunctioning equipment or potential safety risks immediately. By taking proactive steps to keep safety at the forefront of operations, employers can ensure visual workplaces remain safe for all involved


Filed under: Blog, Workplace SafetyTagged with: ,

Developing a 5S Implementation Team

5S Implementation team

Now that you’ve identified the importance of 5S as a critical ingredient in your company’s success, it’s essential to assemble a dedicated 5S Implementation Team to oversee and enforce this system effectively. Although everyone in the company should be involved in the 5S strategy, it’s essential to appoint a specific group of employees to lead the effort. 

The 5S implementation team should consist of at least 4 to 12 members coming from all levels of the organization. This can include one or two members of the following:

  • Senior management
  • Middle management
  • Supervisor
  • Safety officer
  • Facility staff
  • HR staff
  • Front-line employees

Having a diverse implementation team will allow the company to address the problems at each department or level of the organization. Plus, representation from all levels of the organization encourages every employee to put forth suggestions and be updated on all decisions.

The 5S implementation team may work as a whole or be divided into subcommittees handling different areas, such as communications, visual cues, training, project support, etc.  Cobra Systems provides a tool that will help this team implement.

How to Create an Effective 5S Compliance Program

Once a team is established, it’s time to train them so everyone understands the 5S system, its pillars, and its application. The training should also involve observing the area where the work is actually done. Then, gather the important information needed by doing the on-the-ground work to identify the root problems of the specific work areas.

Initiating 5S Implementation

Next is to put the 5S strategy into action. Choose specific areas in the workplace as “pilot” areas for the 5S implementation. Then follow the five S acronym to start creating an efficient workplace. Here’s a guide on how you can begin the pilot roll-out:

  • Take a photo of the current condition of your chosen pilot work area so you can compare it later after the 5S is implemented.
  • First, clean the working area by sorting or separating the necessary and unnecessary items. Remove clutter, waste, and other stuff that has NO value and only takes up the space of the area. 
  • Organize the remaining items in the working area. Arrange them in a systematic and logical way. Improve organization by using tool organizers, relocating machines, and industrial printers to create safety signs, labels, and stickers.
  • Clean the workspace by removing dirt, clutter, and unimportant items that make it hard to work productively. 
  • As for the items that have been removed from the area, you can categorize them in four ways. You can either recycle, sell, donate, or throw them away.
  • Take a photo of the area to compare the differences before and after 5S implementation.

Sustaining Cleanliness and Orderliness

Now that the work area is clean and orderly, the next course of action is to find ways to maintain and keep it that way. Here’s where 5S compliance procedures come into the fold.

The implementation team should standardize the best practices applied during the sorting and organizing phase. Establish written procedures, policies, and standards of conduct to maintain cleanliness and orderliness in the workspace. 

Furthermore, a written compliance procedure makes everything official and will foster uniformity within the organization. The team should oversee, monitor, and enforce the 5S standards and compliance program to identify vulnerabilities or issues.


Why do you need a good industrial printer? Cobra System is the home of unique industrial printing solutions!

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How to Sustain 5S Compliance Procedures

Implementing compliance procedures can be challenging, especially for large organizations adopting new systems. So here are some tips on how you can successfully execute the 5S compliance procedures in your company:

1. Conduct Training and Education

Discuss and educate all employees regarding the established policies and operating procedures. Conduct a training program so every company member knows the expectations and can comply with the standardized methods. Give annual refreshers or seminars when changes are made in the compliance procedures.

2. Develop an Open Line of Communication in All Levels

Let it be known that employees can proactively communicate with the 5S team or committee regarding any questions. The company should also create an anonymous way to report issues, compliance violations, and ethical concerns.

3. Establish Internal Monitoring and Auditing

Measure the effectiveness of your 5S standards and compliance procedures by conducting internal auditing or monitoring. Identify risks, problems, and concerns so the team can address these issues and improve them.

The implementation team should also allow employees to give feedback and suggestions regarding the newly established procedures.

4. Take Corrective Action

After determining the vulnerabilities of the standardized procedure, it’s time to take corrective actions. Gather suggestions from the team and the front-line employees to resolve specific work area issues. Implement new compliance procedures, monitor, then make revisions if needed.


Do You Need an Industrial Printer for Your Workplace? Learn more.


5S system to follow


Frequently Asked Questions


How can the 5S methodology benefit your company?

The main purpose of the 5S system is to help every company create a quality work environment by improving safety and organization. Once a company achieves these attributes, it won’t be long until they see maximum workplace productivity and efficiency that would result in an increase in ROI.

How can it improve safety inside the workplace?

The 5S methodology strongly advocates for cleanliness and orderliness in the workplace to eliminate hazards and health risks. This, in turn, help enhance the overall safety of both employers, employees, and consumers.

What institutions can benefit from 5S?

Typically, the 5S system is implemented mostly in the manufacturing industry, industrial facilities, and office administration. However, a lot of other industries can actually benefit by implementing the 5S methodology. This includes:

  • Hospitals and other health-related facilities
  • Hotel and restaurant industry
  • Retail stores and grocery
  • Information and communication technology
  • Housekeeping and homemaking services

Why does 5S fail in some organizations?

In every venture, there’s always a risk of failure; the same goes for the 5S method. The system sometimes leads to failure for various reasons. The most common ones include lack of financial resources, little to no support from senior leadership, wavering commitment of employees, and lack of direction.

Where should I start?

Whether you’re a large business or start-up, the best way to start 5S is by understanding and learning the system. Invest in a good training workshop for EVERYONE. It’s also important to get support from the management, senior office, and employers in implementing the system.


Implement a 5S system in your workplace

Creating 5S compliance procedures may seem like a huge project but not if you have the right tools to implement it. If you’re thinking of adopting the 5S system into your workplace, then we can happily help you implement it by providing a portable printer that will support your 5s program.

At Cobra Systems, we provide high-quality industrial identification printing systems and product solutions. We can supply you with the right printer that can meet the needs of specific industry-related applications. 

Contact us at 805-243-3462 to start creating sustainable 5s signs and labels using our VnM Signmaker.


Want to explore more options? Check out more article about safety solutions in your workplace.

How to Ensure Safety and Compliance in Your Company

How to Improve Warehouse Efficiency



Filed under: 5S Methodology, Blog, News, Workplace SafetyTagged with: , , , ,

How to Choose What 5S Industrial Printer to Buy?

VNM8 industrial printer

When buying an industrial printer for your business, you need to consider several factors; you don’t just buy on a whim and hope for the best. If you choose the wrong printer, you will end up disappointed in the way it works or the way it prints. 

With hundreds of 5S printers available on the market today, you should take your time before purchasing one. While they all perform similar tasks, not all have the capability to produce the printed items you need. 

No matter what you’re after there’s a printer for you. This article will discuss what an industrial printer is and what factors you should consider when finding the best one for your needs. 

What is an Industrial Printer?

VNM8 industrial printer

Industrial printers are created to withstand demanding environments. These printers are made to print signs, labels, and tags to support the implementation of 5S and OSHA standards in your workplace.

Unlike dot matrix and inkjet printers, industrial sign printers use a heated printhead to create extremely durable images and text on premade signs or vinyl media.

Using direct thermal or thermal transfer printing makes a finished product that won’t smudge or rub off, even when placed in the most high-traffic areas. That’s why they’re mainly used in manufacturing, warehouse, and factory settings, where signs and labels need to be extremely durable for 5S purposes and minimizing workplace hazards

Some industrial label printers can handle printing at high volumes, typically around several thousand to over 10,000 prints a day. Other printers are portable and can print signs and labels on demand, wherever you need them. Some printers will require the use of a PC to create designs, while others do not.

safety signs reminders

What to Consider When Choosing an Industrial Printer for Your Business

With so many features and factors to consider when purchasing an industrial printer, it is easy to get overwhelmed. But no need to worry. The first step you need to take is to understand your printing needs. So, when evaluating various options, here are the things you should consider: 


Does buying an industrial printer save your company money in the long run? Are you spending a lot of time and money finding and ordering the right signs for your facility? These are just some questions you should ask before you go ahead and make a big purchase. If the cost can justify the value it will provide, an investment like this can be the best way to go for your company. 

Printing Capability

Apart from the cost and value, you should consider how many labels and barcodes your company needs to print in a day.

Do you need to print your own designs on pre-made signs and vinyl media on a regular basis? Would you like to be able to print them from anywhere in your facility?

If so, you need to look for a printer that can accommodate your needs. Check the type of signs and labels the printer can produce and see if it can cover your daily needs.

Furthermore, you should also consider the colors you need for your prints. If you don’t need a lot of colors, finding a printer that can print the exact colors you need that are OSHA compliant for signs is enough. 

Print Quality

Another thing you should consider is the quality of prints you’ll get. Even if the printer can accommodate the number of printing jobs you need a day, it’s still no use if the quality doesn’t meet your needs. Make sure that the printer can produce prints that can adhere to 5S and OSHA standards so you won’t have to worry about your labels. 

Printer Size

Some industrial printers are large enough to take a lot of space in your office. If you have a smaller workspace, buying a huge printer can take away valuable space. This can be a massive hassle for your workers. If this is your case, buying a smaller industrial printer that can sit on top of a desk is your best option.

While it may not produce larger signs, it will still produce high-quality prints. There are also printers that are not only portable, but they also don’t require computers. These printers can be easily moved throughout the facility so you can make safety signs and labels wherever you need them. 


Whatever electronic device you’re purchasing, you need to make sure that it’s durable enough to withstand the work you need it to do. Printers are not an exception.

For example, many companies think that buying an old printer will save them money. But in the long run, repairs and maintenance can be more expensive than buying a new one. Modern industrial printers may seem like a considerable investment, but they can give you the reliability you need from them.

However, always check the reviews before purchasing to ensure that the printer you choose is as stable as you need it to be. 

Ease of use

Another important thing you should consider when buying an industrial printer is how easy it is to use. Many people who work in offices don’t have the technical capacity to understand complicated machines.

So, make sure that you’ll buy something that can cater to even the most technology-challenged person in your office. Find something that’s simple. From the login, connection, and printing, make sure that they don’t need to go through tedious and complicated processes. 

At the same time, check the interface of the device. Touchscreens, color screens, and screens that have high brightness settings should be on your list. You also need to consider one with a multi-language interface, especially if English isn’t the first language in your country. 

Uses and Applications

Apart from printing, do you need to cover other tasks in your business, such as scanning, memory storage, file transfer, etc.? If so, then many industrial printers offer more than just printing services and can perform other tasks mentioned above. List down all the things you need, and find a printer that can support those. 


The brand plays an integral role in your device’s reliability and durability. While famous brands may have an already established reputation, they can be expensive compared to lesser-known brands. But popularity doesn’t always equate to reliability.

In fact, many less famous brands can provide the same or better performance and dependability at a much lower cost than industry-leading brands. Choose wisely. 


Warranty is a crucial factor to look at when purchasing any expensive machine. You don’t want to get stuck paying to repair a new printer that has problems. At the same time, you should check the coverage of the warranty.

What issues will the manufacturer cover? How long is the machine covered for? This will give you the information you need to properly take care of your industrial printer and get help fixing it if needed. 

Manufacturer/Dealer Support

While warranty gives you peace of mind, manufacturer support provides you with the assistance you need from purchase to after-sales. If there are any technical problems that the manual can’t answer, you need the dealer to be available to answer specific questions and help you fix some issues.

no unauthorized access sign 

Why is Cobra System’s VNM Signmaker Industrial Printer a Good Option for You?

Among hundreds of industrial printers available on the market, the Cobra System’s VNM Signmaker Industrial Printer is one of the few that delivers on its promise. This high-quality printing solution is a stand-alone industrial label and sign printer that requires no computer.

It is easy to use and comes with built-in templates to make all your labeling applications easier and faster than ever. In addition, it is reliable, durable, and the most cost-effective industrial printer you can find. 

If you want to know more about the VNM Signmaker Industrial Printer, contact us today!

Filed under: 5S Methodology, Blog, News, Workplace Safety

6 Types of Workplace Safety Hazards: Identify, Prevent, Solve

workplace safety hazards card

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO,) more than 340 million work-related accidents and 160 million illnesses happen every year. To make matters worse, this number continues to grow over time. While you might not realize it, the reality is that safety hazards exist in every workplace. Even something as simple as wet floors can lead to accidents, injuries, or death if not addressed.

Given this, it’s essential to assess your workplace thoroughly to identify the hazards and put in place proper safety measures. Unfortunately, not all employers are aware of what hazards their workers are subject to, so here’s a quick guide to help you out. As they say—people are at the heart of your business, so it’s essential to protect them at all times.

workplace safety protective equipment sign board

What does OSHA mean? 

In 1970, the US government passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act to provide workplace safety standards for businesses and employers. This act led to the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). It’s a federal agency in charge of establishing these standards to ensure employees have safe working conditions. 

OSHA’s General Duty Clause requires all employers to create a hazard-free workplace to protect their employees from harm. OSHA health standards prescribed for general industry cover most businesses. But there are also more specific standards for high-risk industries like construction, maritime, and agriculture since workers here are more vulnerable to hazards.

Safety Hazards in the Workplace According to OSHA 

You might be wondering—what might a safety hazard include? The best way to answer this would be to go through the six main OSHA hazard categories. Here’s a quick run-through of each type to get an idea of what to look for in your workplace risk assessment. 

Safety Hazards

man slipping while at work

Safety hazards include substances and conditions that create unsafe working conditions and increase risks for accidents, injuries, and illnesses. These are the most common types of hazards since you’ll find them in every workplace.

Examples include:

  • Slips and trips
  • Falls from heights
  • Electrical hazards like frayed cords
  • Spills on floors
  • Machinery with moving parts
  • Confined spaces 

Biological Hazards

gloved hand holding a biohazard transparent bag

Biological hazards are substances that threaten the well-being of living organisms—in this case, people. They’re often found in more specific jobs and industries that involve working with people, animals, and plants. For example, individuals working in laboratories, hospitals, or healthcare centers will be most susceptible to this hazard.

Examples include exposure to:

  • Bacteria, mold, and mildew
  • Spores and fungi
  • Animal droppings
  • Blood and bodily fluids
  • Insect bites 
  • Dangerous plants 
  • Bioactive substances

Biological hazards can be particularly dangerous compared to other hazards since long-term exposure can result in severe health risks. Some substances can be so life-threatening that they cause asthma, tuberculosis, cancer, and other diseases that may lead to death. 

Physical Hazards

workers wearing protective equipment against chemicals

Physical hazards are environmental factors that can injure your workers—even without direct contact.

Examples of physical hazards include:

  • Constant exposure to sunlight and UV rays
  • Extreme temperatures 
  • Ionizing and non-ionizing radiation
  • Exposure to loud noise
  • Lights and lasers
  • Microwave and radio-frequency
  • High-pressure or low-pressure environments

One of the most common examples of physical hazards is noisy machinery and equipment that can harm your workers’ hearing abilities. To offer some perspective, occupational exposures are the cause of 24% of hearing difficulties in US workers—that’s millions of workers who lose part of their hearing due to hazardous noise, which can be prevented in the first place. Given this staggering number, it’s crucial to provide adequate hearing protection to avoid irreversible hearing problems. 

Ergonomic Hazards

woman setting boxes in order

An ergonomic hazard is present in jobs where working conditions can put a strain on employees’ bodies. It can lead to various musculoskeletal diseases (MSDs), which make up the largest segment of work-related injuries and account for 30% of workers’ compensation costs.

Common ergonomic hazards include the following:

  • Poor posture 
  • Lifting heavy objects 
  • Sitting for long periods
  • Poorly adjusted workstations
  • Repetition of movements
  • Manual labor like pushing and pulling

Unfortunately, these hazards are often harder to detect since the effects usually don’t present themselves immediately. Instead, they tend to progress and build over time. But if you’re familiar with the common ergonomic hazards, you can take action and prevent workers from developing MSDs. 

Chemical Hazards

man wearing personal protective equipment

As the term suggests, chemical hazards refer to toxic chemicals and substances that can cause injuries, illnesses, and possibly even death among your workers. Some substances can be so potent that they can cause health issues from mere inhalation, while others need direct contact. Here are some examples of the hazard:

  • Pesticides
  • Cleaning products and acids
  • Vapors and fumes
  • Gasoline and explosive chemicals
  • Flammable substances like carbon monoxide

Similar to biological hazards, chemical hazards come with a ton of risks, more so if workers are sensitive to them. Chemical burns, skin irritation, nausea, vomiting, and poisoning are just some of the many dangers that threaten your workers. Thus, it’s a non-negotiable to provide employees with proper protective gear if your workplace has chemical hazards.

Work Organization Hazards

a man separating two colleagues having a heated argument

Many are usually familiar with the above 5 hazards in the workplace, but there’s actually a sixth category to watch out for. Work organization hazards refer to stressors—any working condition that can cause stress to employees. They can be present in any workplace, but lone workers are especially vulnerable since they tend to feel isolated. To understand these hazards better, here are the most common examples you should keep an eye on:

  • Workplace violence and aggression
  • Intense workload demands
  • Sexual harassment
  • Flexibility 
  • Bullying
  • Social relations 
  • Control regarding decisions

Examples of Hazards in the Workplace by Industry

Now that you’re more familiar with the many types of hazards that exist in the workplace, here are concrete workplace hazard examples to show you how these risks manifest in different industries. This should give you a better idea of what risks to watch out for in your workplace.

Raw Materials Industry

cantilever loading logs

The raw materials industry is in charge of extracting and processing inputs and raw materials used for manufacturing. Businesses in the industry specialize in a particular type of material, such as steel, aluminum, copper, lumber, gasoline, plastics, ceramics, porcelain, or others.

The health hazards in this industry will vary based on the material being handled, but here are the main types to watch out for:

  • Noise from equipment
  • High temperatures
  • Exposure to chemicals 

Manufacturing and Construction Industry

man looking at construction site

The manufacturing industry transforms raw materials into new products. Conversely, the construction industry works on designing, building, and maintaining buildings, infrastructure, and industrial properties. When you think of health and safety hazards, these two will probably come to mind since you always hear about accidents happening on the job.

Both industries involve working environments with high places, machinery, and chemicals, so they’re unsurprisingly prone to many hazards. Employees are particularly vulnerable to the following:

  • Slips and trips
  • Falls from heights
  • Electrical shocks
  • Hearing damage from loud noise
  • Confined spaces like tanks
  • Exposure to asbestos
  • Injuries from repetitive movements 
  • Handling flammable substances 
  • Moving objects 

Service Industry

customer service executives staring at computer screens

The service industry differs from the manufacturing industry in that it creates value through intangible products or services. For example, marketing agencies don’t sell products directly to customers. Instead, they offer their expertise, knowledge, and skills in crafting marketing plans and campaigns for clients.

Service businesses are extremely susceptible to ergonomic hazards —workers tend to stay in the same position for prolonged times, perform repeated movements, and maintain awkward postures, so you can imagine the strain that’s placed on them. Beyond these issues, there are also other risks like:

  • Chemicals from cleaning agents
  • Fires
  • Mental health issues
  • Slips, trips, and falls
  • Biohazards from toxic waste 

Information Services Industry

man looking at clipboard

The information services industry specializes in collecting, storing, processing, and analyzing different types of information. Examples of businesses in this industry include business process outsourcing (BPOs), consulting, research and development, and others. Generally, companies seek the help of this industry for their expertise and knowledge.

Like the service industry, information service jobs are also prone to ergonomic hazards. Many times, workers stay seated in one place for a long time, increasing the risk for back injury or neck pain. Other hazards common in the industry include:

  • Hearing difficulties from workplace noise
  • Slips, trips, and falls
  • Electrical hazards 
  • Heavy machinery 

Human Services Industry

caregiver assisting an elderly with a cane

The human services industry is a sub-category under the broader services industry. It covers the businesses that deliver services to benefit and help people, address their needs, and improve their quality of life. Well-known examples include child welfare services, elderly assistance, counseling, personal care services, and the like.

Since this industry usually involves close contact with other people, workers tend to be at risk of contracting biological hazards like mold and pathogens. Aside from this, here are other possible hazards in the industry:

  • Workplace stress and violence
  • Repetitive movement
  • Awkward posture
  • Slips, trips, and falls
  • Lifting and carrying people
  • Chronic fatigue 

7 Ways to Avoid Workplace Safety Hazards 

Here are some helpful ways to avoid workplace safety hazards. The best practices will vary for every work area, but these should give you a good starting point.

  • Implement a health and safety program for workers
  • Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and safety equipment, if applicable
  • Monitor employees’ health condition regularly
  • Adjust working stations to ensure proper ergonomics
  • Find industrial printers to make hazard safety signs
  • Inspect electrical systems regularly for potential hazards
  • Perform regular maintenance on your equipment

Beyond this, you can also consider finding a company that specializes in workplace safety solutions for helpful tools to monitor workplace safety effectively.

man using a forklift

FAQs About Safety Hazards in the Workplace 

What factors affect safety and risk?

The main factors affecting workplace safety and risk are people, equipment, processes, materials, and environment. For one, it’s important to educate your employees about the importance of safe work procedures. Likewise, the safety of your tools and machines, materials, and process design can affect the severity of workplace risk. The last factor—environment—is more external, but it’s the main cause of physical hazards. 

How to report a safety hazard?

The federal law protects workers and grants them the right to a healthy workplace. Thus, anyone who is subject to safety hazards without protective measures may file a confidential complaint with OSHA online, in person, through telephone, or through email. The agency will then conduct an inspection to assess the matter and take proper action. 

How do you correct a safety hazard at work?

Managing risks in the workplace starts with identifying hazards. Once you spot a hazard that hasn’t been addressed, assess the risk to determine its potential impact and the workers who are most likely to be affected. From there, you can come up with procedures to fix or mitigate the hazard. If you can’t eliminate it completely, consider substituting or isolating the hazard, providing PPEs, or adjusting work practices. 

Who is responsible for correcting safety hazards?

Employers are in charge of managing safety hazards and correcting them accordingly. As mandated by OSHA, employers need to conduct assessments for hazard identification and install measures to provide a hazard-free environment for workers. In most cases—especially in high-risk industries—companies will delegate the work to a safety department that oversees workplace safety and protocols. 

How should hazards be reported in the workplace?

Should employees notice any hazards in the workplace, they should immediately report this to their supervisor or safety manager, if applicable. If you don’t receive a response from them, you can escalate the issue to the OSHA. As much as possible, try to settle the issue internally before moving up to the government.

Reduce Workplace Safety Hazards With Cobra Systems’ Solutions

While there are many decisions involved in running a business, you can’t ever discount the importance of your people and their safety. It’s extremely important to highlight the safety hazards in your workplace and put in place countermeasures to protect your employees from them. 

By emphasizing the mitigation of workplace safety hazards, you can contribute to reducing the hundreds of millions of work accidents and injuries that occur each year.

If you need someone to help you print safety signages and labels, Cobra Systems offers high-quality printers for workplace safety purposes. Contact us or give us a call today at 805-243-3335 to learn more!

Filed under: 5S Methodology, Blog, News, Workplace Safety