7 Important Tips for Identifying Work Hazards
Correctly recognizing and identifying work hazards is the first step in ensuring the safety of workers. Look for anything (object or process) that might threaten your workers on site.
Begin identifying hazards by doing a workplace inspection. Roam around the workplace:
- Examine how each task is executed
- Evaluate equipment and how it is used
- Analyze the arrangement of work areas and how any of the processes or materials used can possibly pose a threat to your workers’ health
Generally, hazards may emerge from the following:
- Work area
- Machinery and materials used
- Work assignments and how they are done
- Work layout and supervision
If you’re used to working in a certain environment, you might not see potential hazards. To identify these hazards, here are some tips to help you out:
- For machinery and materials (especially those that are hazardous), always check manufacturer instructions and safety data sheets. Also, consider the effects of long-term exposure.
- Check commonplace tasks like maintenance, cleaning, or shifting production schedule.
- Study incident reports including complaints and worker health records to recognize unnoticed hazards. Reviewing previous incidents may reveal a certain pattern that can aid you in recognizing any systemic hazard.
- Keep communications open with workers and ask them about any observed health and safety concerns. Probe anonymously, using open-ended questions. You can even acknowledge workers who are able to recognize hazards early as it ultimately helps your business.
- Monitor industry organizations, manufacturers, and government laws regarding industry safety standards and information on hazards and risks related to your industry.
- Check out resources for information on prevalent hazards in different industries, including those that are caused by tools and machinery.
- Once hazards are identified, assessment and control of the risks will follow.
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