to main content Workforce Safety and Well-Being: Physical Hazards | The Joint Commission

Physical Hazards

According to the CDC, physical hazards are workplace agents, factors or circumstances that can cause tissue damage by transfer of energy from the agent to the person. Examples of these hazards include excessive noise (areas where you must raise your voice to be heard by others), elevated heat (indoor and outdoor), and sources of radiation (radioactive materials, X-rays, or radio frequency radiation).
,,Loud noise can create physical and psychological stress, reduce productivity, interfere with communication and concentration, and make it difficult to hear warning signals leading to workplace errors and accidents. Elevated noise levels were reported in the top 10 work hazards in a U.S. nurse survey.,,

American Nurses Association

Tips & Actionable Strategies

Consider these tips and explore the collection of curated resources, strategies and practices to protect staff from exposure to physical hazards. 

  • Emphasize elimination of physical hazards as the primary goal.
  • Ensure the appropriate controls are in place when a hazard cannot be eliminated.
  • Make safety policies and procedures available and accessible, 24 hours a day/7 days per week.
  • Make sure staff wear protective gear to safeguard against exposure to physical hazards (e.g., radiation aprons, ear plugs/earmuffs, cooling vests).
  • Train staff on new or updated procedures, and when a new process or piece of equipment is introduced.
  • Provide medical surveillance for staff exposed to physical hazards.