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7 Environmental Hazards That May Impact Employees

Environmental hazards are anything that has the potential to harm the surrounding environment or harm people’s health, such as pollution and natural events like earthquakes and storms. These harmful agents can be on land, in the air and/or water. They come in a wide variety of forms, from chemical plants to radioactive waste and others.

The worst ones cause death and disease, while others are merely irritating, such as termites. Regardless of what kind of environmental hazard you are exposed to, there is a responsible action that you can take to protect yourself and your family. There are numerous factors that contribute to the increasing incidences of occupational diseases and health problems in today’s corporate world. These factors include

  • Poor workmanship
  • Exposure to harmful chemicals and radiation
  • Lack of hygiene
  • Other similar conditions

To ensure the safety of the people engaged in all sorts of occupations in the workplace, the occupational health and safety of the said profession are being taken care of by several organizations dealing with occupational health.

Environmental Hazards

All these organizations have specific and defined protocols to follow when it comes to the safety of the employees who perform different types of jobs in the office or other workplaces. The protocols ensure that the workers and the employers do not suffer due to a dangerous workplace accident.

The environmental hazards management professional team will first assess the type of hazard

This includes identifying where the contamination is, what it looks like and what caused the contamination in the first place. Your specific problem may be a specific chemical or a mixture of chemicals, and the team will then design an effective solution by removing the contaminated material, rebuilding the land and properly labeling and storing the materials.

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A large part of environmental hazards is man-made pollution, such as vehicle exhaust, pesticides, lead in paint, and other chemicals. Chemical contaminants are generally odorless, tasteless, or colorless, but some types can cause coughing, dizziness, and irritation. There are different types of chemical contamination that can cause different types of health problems.

For example, synthetic drugs can irritate the skin, eyes, throat, or mouth; mercury is a common chemical contaminant that can be found in fish, seafood and lead is a heavy metal that can enter the body through drinking, touching, breathing, and touching. Each of these different types of poisoning requires a unique solution to remove it from the environment and prevent future occurrences.

In addition to man-made pollutants, there are a variety of naturally occurring toxic substances

Many toxic substances have been found to be carcinogens because they alter the body’s natural balance of hormones and other chemicals. These types of environmental hazards also pose health risks to humans, so the EPA and other organizations work together to control the amount and type of exposure people have to these harmful substances.

Viruses and infectious agents pose another kind of threat to environmental hazards and the health of humans. The health effects caused by these pathogens vary greatly, depending on how much infection has taken place and how severely infected the person is.

An open cut or wound may not be as deadly as a small cut inside the ear or nose, for instance, but a virus or bacteria that cause colds or the flu could prove deadly if left untreated. Likewise, biological hazards are more difficult to detect and control because their exact composition is unknown. Few pathogens can be seen and tested without biometric analysis.

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To effectively control harmful environmental health hazards, the EPA has developed a figure 2.4 rule, which identifies the number of known environmental hazards in a facility. According to this figure, each facility should have at least one hazardous condition.

If a hazardous condition exists in more than one location at a facility, then multiple sites should be inspected and controlled. The number of sites and the number of hazardous conditions, each site contains dictate the kinds of protective materials and controls required for that facility.

The agency further explains that the combination of existing environmental factors and new releases of environmental health threats poses a challenge to the environments of the facility. There needs to be a plan for the control and prevention of existing and future environmental health hazards.

This involves early detection, effective response, and the use of engineering solutions that prevent or reduce the adverse effects of exposure to these agents. This way, the environmental hazards are kept at bay and the workers continue with their tasks and lives, enjoying a healthy environment.

Cultural practices may even affect health in the workplace. Even if the environmental hazards haven’t yet reached an advanced stage, some people are more exposed to them because of their culture. This, for example, is true when it comes to smoking, which is more prevalent in the US than in other developed countries.

When it comes to protecting the employees from the harmful effects of environmental hazards in the workplace, employers need to take several precautions

One of the precautionary measures taken by many employers is offering air sampling, urine testing, and lung disease screening to the employees who may be exposed to hazardous substances in the environment.

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Besides offering personal protection equipment like earmuffs, masks, and respirators to the workers, the employers also install pollution controls at their places of work to reduce the emission of harmful substances into the atmosphere. For instance, in some industries, the ventilation systems are switched off during the night to reduce the emission of volatile organic compounds or VOCs.

The occupational health and safety Act has been imposed by the government as a way of regulating the various hazards in the environment. This Act has several provisions to protect the workers from the harmful effects of chemical spills and poisonous substances.

This Act has also laid down penalties for those who fail to comply with the provisions of this Act. Thus, all employers need to strictly implement this Act to protect their employees from all kinds of hazardous substances in the workplace.

Moreover, employers should provide their employees with the necessary personal protective equipment and information regarding the said Act. In order to ensure the safety of the workers, the employers must also ensure clean and safe working environments in the workplace.

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