Estates & Infrastructure - Occupational Health and Safety


Hazards and How They Affect You


Hazard is the term given to anything that has the potential to cause you harm, injury , illness and even death.

There are 5 recognized hazards most likely to be encountered in any workplace , these include

  1. Physical Hazards
  2. Chemical Hazards
  3. Biological Hazards
  4. Ergonomic Hazards
  5. Psychological Hazards

Personal Protective Equipment ,  Danger , Caution signs often denote the presence of a hazard .



Common Examples include

  • Exposed Electrical wires & components that can result in Electrocutions or Fire
  • Uneven or slippery surfaces that can lead to slip & trip and falls
  • Fall from heights
  • High energy mechanical forces causing crush ,penetrating and blunt injuries, 
  • Loud noise that can lead to hearing impairment 

Smart Phones : Using Hand Mobile Phones in a non smart manner is very unsafe potentially deadly eg. whilst driving or walking across roads

Video ( Texting while driving )  Video 2 ( texting while walking  )

 2. Chemical Hazards  

Chemicals generally have health and physical hazardous effects on humans

Physical Hazards include those flammable , combustible , explosive chemical compounds


Health Hazards from chemicals include those cause poisoning e.g. from toxins , carcinogens , irritants , corrosives.  



Biological hazards are living microbial organisms that have the potential to cause infection , illness and death to exposed persons.

These include viruses ,bacteria , fungi ,protozoa ,etc.

These agents can be transmitted to humans from other humans or from animals and insects through bites , touch, inhalation , sexual or vertical transmission or via blood transfusions.

Specific biological hazard signs are placed in university workplaces where biological hazards are present , so follow all safety procedures in these areas at all times.


A large proportion of work and workplaces may require the human body to exert " stress " itself beyond its normal posture ,movement and coordination, in most instances the task or tasks may require the use of machinery and tools.

These work and workplace stresses if not addressed effectively can lead to accumulative functional disorders especially on the musculoskeletal and nerve structures of the human body.

It is important that these workplaces , tools and equipment used is designed to fit the worker to mitigate against these ergonomic hazards .


The workplace is full of challenges .

It is important that a worker when assigned a task is adequately trained and supervised and has been provided the relevant instructions with necessary equipment and tools to carry out the tasks and has the required authority to officiate at his / her task.

However there are occasions where a person's ability to cope mentally with workplace tasks is challenged , he or she feels " not up to it "and this can arise from a large variety of sources not restricted to the workplace or fellow workers.

The presence of these " stressors " can be a hazard if not addressed in a timely manner.

It is important for supervisors and senior managers within the university to have an open door policy when dealing with these issues so that staff can discuss these with them within the workplace.

Further aasistance can be provided by staff at the USP Counselling office based at Laucala by contacting them .


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