Updated: Nov 12, 2022
A renowned American author Don Brown thoughtfully mentions
“An incident is just a tip of the iceberg, a sign of the much larger problem below the surface”
Timely identification and elimination of workplace hazards are necessary to avoid consequences arising from unsafe working conditions.
A hazard may be defined as any action, situation, or source which has the potential to cause harm to life. Here are a few steps to identify and assess workplace hazards:
01. Conducting Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment
Hazard identification and risk assessment are important steps in the process of ensuring a safe and healthy workplace. By identifying potential hazards and assessing the risks they pose, employers can take steps to eliminate or reduce those risks.
There are a variety of methods that can be used to conduct hazard identification and risk assessment. The most important thing is to choose a method that is appropriate for your workplace and your specific needs. Once you have chosen a method, you can begin to identify potential hazards and assess the risks they pose. Some common methods of hazard identification and risk assessment include job task analysis, workplace observation, and injury and accident analysis.
Typical workplace hazards to look out for are listed below:
Physical Hazards (Noise, Heat, radiation, etc.)
Chemical hazards (Identify risk from Chemicals through SDS)
Biological Hazards (Infectious disease, etc.)
Ergonomic Risk factors (heavy-duty activities, postures, etc.)
The assessment of risk and categorizing the risk levels are equally important. Management should also review the actions taken to eliminate hazards from time to time.
It is similar to equipment, where periodically monitoring the condition and preventive maintenance helps to achieve Zero breakdown.
02. Data-Driven Assessment of Workplace Hazards
If you are an employer, it is your responsibility to assess the risks in your workplace and to put control measures in place to avoid accidents. Identifying workplace hazards is a crucial process in ensuring workplace safety. There are various ways to identify and assess hazards, but data-driven methods are often the most effective. Learning from previous failures, and records of failures from across industries can provide valuable lessons for your own workplace safety program.
In order to ensure a safe work environment, operating manuals and safety data sheets are also extremely important for all data-driven assessments of workplace hazards. These manuals and sheets should be easily accessible to all employees and should be regularly updated.
03. Regular Workplace Safety Audits at Senior and Supervisor Levels
An organization conducting diligent safety inspections does not easily get into a Workplace hazard crisis. Inspections should be carried out methodically at fixed intervals and should be documented with the help of checklists.
All personnel, from managers to cross-functional teams, need to operate with safety in mind by conducting safety audits and participating in observations followed by corrective and preventive action.
04. Keep a watch on Incidents Reported across Industries
A good industry leader or senior manager always keeps eyes and ears open toward the incidents occurring in industries across the globe. Implementing precautionary measures to prevent similar incidents in your organization is a wise thing to do.
For example, the installation of emergency showers near acid storage areas after hearing about acid spillage in a nearby industry is a common practice that helps strengthen the safety culture.
05. Follow Safety Journals Published by Industry Experts
Safety journals are a great way to stay up to date with the latest research in the field of safety. Senior Industry professionals write professional journals on how to identify and assess workplace hazards. Often these articles are snippets of vast experience and anecdotes of incidents related to the industry. These journals also help to keep a tab on new regulations and developments in safety.
Confused about the process of Hazard Identification?
Hire an expert today. Experts having exposure to a wide range of industries and their experience can point out the vulnerable areas in no time. Besides Hazard Identification and Risk assessment, these experts also come up with practical solutions to eliminate/minimize the risks.
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