Know the hazards

Hazards aren’t always easy to recognize. Your employer can help you identify the ones in your job and show you how to stay safe.

Young workers are at a higher risk for workplace injury. Every day 26 young workers are hurt in B.C., and every week 13 young workers suffer a serious injury.

What are some health and safety hazards I could face at work?

  • Step ladders

    Step ladders are a tool used in many workplaces and they can be a potential hazard. Here’s how you can help avoid falls and injuries.

    • Inspect the ladder before using it to make sure that there are no broken, cracked, or missing parts
    • Place the ladder on a firm, level surface, ensuring that the ladder is fully opened with spreaders locked in place.
    • Always have three points of contact with the ladder (e.g., one hand and two feet)
  • Hazardous products

    If your job requires you to use hazardous products, make sure you know how to safely use the product.

    • Carefully read labels on chemicals
    • Use all protective equipment recommended by the manufacturer and supplied by your employer; if you don’t receive any protective equipment, ask for it
    • Store chemicals properly after use
  • Knives, box cutters, and other sharp tools

    Knives, box cutters, and other sharp tools are used in many workplaces. Here’s how you can help avoid injuries.

    • Always cut away from your body
    • Use a flat surface to cut on
    • When using meat slicers or other power equipment, don’t wear loose clothing or jewellery that could get caught
  • Power tools and equipment

    It’s important to know which tool to use for each job, and how to use the tools safely.

    • Never use a power tool or equipment unless you have been trained and authorized
    • Inspect tools before use, ensuring that the tool is in good operating condition
    • Check that the power switch is in the “off” position before plugging the tool in
  • Noise

    Though noise-induced hearing loss typically happens gradually, the damage is permanent. Here’s how you can help reduce or eliminate hearing loss at work.

    • Ear buds (headphones) are not work equipment and they don’t provide hearing protection
    • Ensure your hearing protection is the right type for the environment you’re in and that it’s comfortable
    • Always wear approved hearing protection when entering an area that is posted as having high noise levels, regardless of if it’s noisy or not when you enter
  • Forklifts and pallet jacks

    If your job requires you to use a forklift or a pallet jack, make sure you get proper training and follow safe work procedures.

    • Wear required safety equipment such as safety boots and a hard hat
    • Secure the load properly — never overload the forklift
    • Never carry a passenger or elevate a person on forks, pallets, or loads
  • Working alone

    Working alone means that in case of an emergency, help would not be readily available to you. Here are some tips to help you stay safe while working alone.

    • Your manager should have person-check procedures in place — someone should be checking in with you regularly to make sure you’re okay
    • Have an emergency phone number handy
    • If possible, leave back doors locked
    • Leave higher-risk tasks — emptying garbage outside for example — for when there is more than one employee working