The safety of security guards who protect businesses, private property and those who work or reside there does not always receive the consideration it deserves. In many cases, these workers are members of underrepresented economic communities who are unsure of their rights if they suffer on-the-job injuries. If you are a security guard in California, becoming familiar with potential occupational hazards might help you to stay safe.
The risks you face will be related to the post that you hold. Your allocated security duties could be within the confines of a company. Such a position requires careful organization and cooperation between the security company and the client, with full disclosure about inherent hazards that might threaten the security guard's safety. The duties and responsibilities of both parties must be clear to avoid interference and confusion.
Potential risks of the post held
The hazards of your work environment can be the typical hazards faced by any employees. Being aware of the following dangers may prevent injuries:
- Physical injuries: Any workplace can pose risks such as slips, trips, falls and bumps along with road accidents, fire hazards and electrical hazards.
- Physical harm: Excessive noise and insufficient lighting along with inappropriate temperature levels, humidity and ventilation can cause health problems for security guards.
- Biological and chemical hazards: Poison, allergens, parasites and toxic or corrosive substances could be present, and identification of all hazards is essential. Preventative steps can reduce risks.
Specific occupational risks for security guards
The following threats are specific to the security industry, and employers should include them in safety training:
- Physical stress: A cramped work area can cause poor blood circulation, and along with other workload risks you could suffer muscular pain.
- Psychological stress: Insufficient motivation along with a strained mental and emotional work environment can cause stress and tiredness, which could lead to poor mental health.
- Violence: Security guards have to prepare for situations in which physical violence may threaten them. Furthermore, workplace violence can include bullying, intimidation — often involving a weapon, and even sexual harassment.
- Weapons handling: Your employer must provide proper weapons-handling training to all security guards who use weapons to avoid injuries and fatalities.
- Guard dog risks: The lack of adequate training can cause guard dogs to be unpredictable or aggressive, making them extremely dangerous.
- Radiation exposure: If your guard post is at a hospital or laboratory, you might face radiation risks.
- Work schedule and organization: Inflexible schedules and working alone with no relief workers can cause health and safety risks.
- Female-specific hazards: If you are a female security guard, you may need to take special precautions if you become pregnant or while you are breastfeeding. Health hazards will also threaten your child.
Learn your rights
If you suffer work-related injuries or contract an occupational illness, you can learn about your rights by consulting with an experienced California workers' compensation attorney. A lawyer can also assist you with the navigation of a benefits claim to recover medical expenses and lost wages.