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Problems and risks in the workplace

Your H&S team will be focused on the major task of ensuring that the Management of Heath & Safety at Work Regulations and other statutory requirements are complied with. But even though the Regulations cover a wide range of issues, many risks can get overlooked - especially if they are not specifically covered by legislation.

Undetected risks and problems in the workplace could arise from:

  • Electromagnetic fields and radiation (EMF/EMR) from equipment and wiring
  • Distractions and loss of concentration from poor layout
  • Poor ergonomic design of equipment, furniture and systems
  • Ineffective or inappropriate lighting
  • Pollution from building materials, furniture and equipment
  • Heating and cooling systems
  • Poor air quality
  • Sources of combustion
  • Cleaning and maintenance products
  • Ineffective or insufficient cleaning
  • Noise and vibration - even at low levels
  • Sick building syndrome (SBS)
  • Undisciplined working practices

And don't forget you have a responsibility to ensure good working practices and a safe environment for staff that work from home.

Some people might say that the biggest problem is getting staff to realise that safety and efficiency is everyone's responsibility. Ecopraxis consultation and training may even be able to help with that!

Signs and symptoms

If you or your colleagues begin to experience any of the health problems below - especially if the symptoms are less noticeable when away from work - then you should take immediate action to discover the cause. Always seek medical advice if symptoms persist.

  • Irritation of the eyes, nose or throat,
  • Headaches
  • Skin complaints
  • Breathing difficulties including the onset of asthma
  • Backache and other muscular pain
  • Dizziness, nausea or digestive problems
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Stress symptoms
  • Sleep disorders
  • Problems with poor concentration and loss of memory
  • Menstruation problems
  • Tingling and pricking sensations or unnatural warmth on the face or other part of the body
  • Fatigue or general aches and pains
  • ...and many other complaints

Lifebelt photo © 2001 D Smith