Environmental hazards refer to dangerous elements located either indoors or outdoors, including living spaces and workplaces, which put individuals and the surrounding area at risk. Such hazards are omnipresent and can include:
Per OSHA biological hazards include bacteria, viruses, fungi, blood, mold and other living organisms that can cause acute and chronic infections by entering the body either directly or through breaks in the skin. If the contact with biological hazards cannot be prevented, personal protective equipment should be used including masks, gloves, protective clothing, eye shields, face shields and shoe covers.
Airborne hazards include dirt and dust particulates and gaseous air pollutants that may originate from smoke, construction and remediation involving asbestos and lead and disaster response cleanup. Respiratory protection includes disposable respirators, and reusable respirators and filter cartridges designed for a variety of applications.
Paints, urethanes, glues, mastic removers, disinfectants and antimicrobials are manufactured chemicals that have the potential to cause harm if proper handling and application guidelines are not adhered to. Workers exposed to chemicals in liquids, gases, vapor and particulate forms need to exercise caution and wear appropriate PPE and respiratory protection. Chemical hazards can also include acids, pesticides, carbon monoxide, flammable liquids, welding fumes, silica dust and fiberglass fibers. Hazardous chemical exposure via spills, leaks, and other accidental releases can cause adverse health effects such as poisoning, breathing problems, skin rashes, allergic reactions, cancer, and other health problems.
Electrical hazards include incorrect handling of power cables, power lines and electrical tools resulting in shock or electrocution, electrical burns, fires and even explosions. These hazards can range from minor to deadly.