The 5 OSHA Workplace Hazards

Under the right circumstances, virtually anything could become hazardous in the workplace. With sensible employee behavior and workplace conditions, however, the workplace hazards that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) warn against fall into just five main categories. We’ll review them below, and provide suggestions for mitigating dangers for each.

#1: Safety Hazards

(slips, trips and falls, faulty
equipment, etc.)

Safety risks refer to the conditions or substances found in the work environment which can pose danger of injuries. From falling objects to wet floors, these seemingly innocuous everyday risks have the potential to cause serious bodily harm. To minimize these hazards, there are a few things you can do:

  1. Never leave machinery unattended while in use
  2. Practice safety while working from heights
  3. Mandate the use of safety gear and safety apparel, like hardhats, and safety glasses
  4. Have your electrical wiring inspected regularly
  5. Provide the proper signage (like wet floor signs) to notify employees of spills, and clean them up promptly

Safety Hazards include:

  • Spills on floors or tripping hazards,
    such as blocked aisles or cords
    running across the floor
  • Working from heights, including
    ladders, scaffolds, roofs, or any
    raised work area
  • Unguarded machinery and moving
    machinery parts; guards removed or
    moving parts that a worker can
    accidentally touch
  • Electrical hazards like frayed cords,
    missing ground pins, improper
  • Confined spaces
  • Machinery-related hazards
    (lockout/tagout, boiler safety,
    forklifts, etc.)

#2: Biological Hazards

(mold, insects/pests,
communicable diseases, etc.)

These types of hazards tend to be exclusive to specific work environments. Particularly, anyone who works with infectious plants, people, or animals may be regularly exposed to biological hazards. Examples of occupations could include laboratory workers, daycare assistants, and personnel in hospitals, doctor’s offices, or nursing homes.

Coming into contact with substances like blood and other bodily fluids, animal droppings, bacteria and viruses, or fungi can put an individual at risk of becoming ill. To minimize these risks, it’s essential that you establish a protocol for handling biohazards and potentially infectious material. Additionally, make sure necessary supplies like disposable gloves are easily accessible. Sorbents can be used to clean up bio-hazards.  These powerful granules absorb the liquid, making them easy to clean-up.

Types of things you may be exposed to

  • Blood and other body fluids
  • Fungi/mold
  • Bacteria and viruses
  • Plants
  • Insect bites
  • Animal and bird droppings

#3: Physical Hazards

(noise, temperature extremes,
radiation, etc.)

Physical hazards are environmental factors which can cause injury without direct contact. For instance, radiation, temperature extremes, consistent loudness, and prolonged exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet rays all fall into this category. These are commonly considered the most difficult to detect, because signs don’t always present themselves right away.Like the other hazards listed here, reducing your employees’ risk of being exposed to physical hazards comes down to providing protection.

Hearing protection, for instance, should be considered mandatory for any individuals working around loud machinery. In settings where MEFs and microwaves are routinely emitted, employers must develop practices their teams can follow to limit exposure.

Physical Hazards include:

  • Radiation: including ionizing, nonionizing
    (EMF’s, microwaves,
    radiowaves, etc.)
  • High exposure to sunlight/ultraviolet
  • Temperature extremes – hot and cold
  • Constant loud noise

#4: Ergonomic Hazards

(repetition, lifting, awkward
postures, etc.)

Like physical hazards, ergonomic hazards may develop over time. Back strain and similar musculoskeletal disorders are often attributed to repetitive workplace motions. Even individuals who work desk jobs aren’t immune to suffering from back pain.

To combat ergonomic hazards, employers can offer training from specialists to help employees understand the importance of proper lifting techniques and posture. More and more employers are also exploring standing desk options to prevent associates from experiencing health complications associated with prolonged sitting.

Ergonomic Hazards include:

  • Improperly adjusted workstations and
  • Frequent lifting
  • Poor posture
  • Awkward movements, especially if
    they are repetitive
  • Repeating the same movements over
    and over
  • Having to use too much force,
    especially if you have to do it
  • Vibration

#5: Chemical/Dust Hazards

(cleaning products, pesticides,
asbestos, etc.)

Some chemicals are naturally more potent than others. While certain types are only dangerous when ingested or a person comes into direct contact with them, others are dangerous when simply inhaled. If your workforce uses chemicals regularly, you can keep employees safe by:

  1. Clearly labeling all chemicals
  2. Developing a protocol for handling chemicals
  3. Providing employees with the proper safety gear (respirators and gloves, for instance) to wear while in the presence of chemicals

Beware of:

  • Liquids like cleaning products, paints,
    acids, solvents – ESPECIALLY if
    chemicals are in an unlabeled
  • Vapors and fumes that come from
    welding or exposure to solvents
  • Gases like acetylene, propane, carbon
    monoxide and helium
  • Flammable materials like gasoline,
    solvents, and explosive chemicals.
  • Pesticides


No matter which types of hazards your workplace has, Harmony Business Supplies has all of the safety gear and products your team needs to stay healthy and injury-free. Browse through their supplies online now, or contact a product specialist to learn more.

Disposable Gloves 101

Disposable Gloves 101

The Gist on Disposable Gloves

Disposable gloves keep your hands and environment safe from contaminants, chemicals, and other dangers. Disposable gloves are used for hand protection in medical, forensic, scientific, automotive, food service, cleaning, and industrial applications. Single-use gloves come in a variety of materials and are used in industries worldwide.

Uses for Disposable Gloves

Medical Gloves

Disposable gloves are used in medical examinations and procedures to create a safety barrier that helps to prevent cross-contamination. This keeps medical personnel /caregivers and patients safe. Un-powdered gloves (which are covered below) are used more often during surgery to prevent contaminates. Medical and examination gloves are usually of higher quality materials and thickness to prevent tearing and punctures during procedures.

Food Gloves

If you’re handling or preparing food, disposable food gloves are a necessity. Food gloves ensure your food and employees stay clean and sanitary and provide a barrier against germs. Single-use food gloves are conveniently disposable so you can just throw them away after use. Latex-alternative disposable gloves (such as nitrile or vinyl) or often used in food handling due to possible latex allergies.  The most popular food handling glove is made from Polyethylene. These low cost gloves are perfect when you need to change gloves often and need light protection.

General Purpose Disposable Gloves

General Purpose Disposable Gloves are just that. Used in many industries and shops to keep hands clean and protect against chemicals and more. General purpose disposable gloves are available in latex, nitrile, chloroprene, and vinyl. Each material has unique features (covered below). Use general purpose disposable gloves for light duty cleaning, painting, maintenance work and more.

Disposable Glove Materials

Latex Gloves

Durable latex gloves are great for a variety of uses across medical and industrial applications. Latex gloves come in a variety of sizes, with powdered and powder-free options. Powder helps with easy donning of the gloves.

Latex gloves are more elastic than nitrile and more puncture resistance than vinyl. Latex gloves naturally offer excellent chemical resistance.  Using latex gloves is not recommended if you have a latex allergy.

Nitrile Gloves

Nitrile is a synthetic version of latex. Nitrile disposable gloves have higher puncture and chemical resistance than other materials. Nitrile offers great protection against punctures, cuts, and snags. Nitrile gloves are often used in medical applications and procedures for these reasons.

Vinyl Gloves

Vinyl disposable gloves are a good alternative for those allergic to latex gloves or dislike other types of gloves. Great for single-use applications.  Exam Grade Vinyl Gloves are ideal for protection in a wide range of medical applications. Food Service Vinyl Gloves are often used in catering, food handling, and food prep. Vinyl gloves are available with or without powder for easier donning.

Polyethylene Gloves

The lowest cost and least protective type of disposable gloves are polyethylene gloves. These are ideal however for food handling, catering, and other food industry related applications. Polyethylene single use gloves keep your hands clean and offer basic contamination protection.

Do You Need Sterile Disposable Gloves?

Medical and Exam Disposable Gloves are available in sterile options. Sterile gloves are also used in cleanrooms and controlled environments. If you are doing work where any possible type of contamination is a worry, opt for sterile gloves. Sterile gloves are sterilized and come in sealed packaging to maintain freshness and sterility.

Powdered Disposable Gloves

Disposable gloves are made of different polymers including latex, nitrile, and vinyl. They come un-powdered, or powdered to lubricate the gloves, making them easier to put on the hands. Again, if contaminates are a concern, opt for powder-free disposable gloves. However, for other applications, powder makes the gloves much easier to wear and change out.

If you have any questions or can’t quite decide what type of glove you, please give us a call and we’ll be glad to assist you in your selection!