This post gives some outline into hazard identification and the need to be aware of the some of the most likely contributing factors to workplace hazards:
1) Hazard Identification
2) Risk Analysis and Evaluation
3) Risk Control
Cover All Categories of Hazards
During the crucial first step of a risk assessment (Hazard Identification) the assessor must be sure to cover both safety and health hazards equally. Some assessors focus more on safety hazards, but health hazards may produce an equal or greater risk of harm to workers. Here are some examples of safety and health hazards:
Slips, trips, falls
Working at heights
Chemical hazards (e.g. exposure to, and inhalation of, chemicals)
Physical hazards (e.g. noise, extreme temperatures)
Biological hazards (e.g. infectious diseases, bacteria)
Ergonomic hazards (e.g. heavy lifting, repetitive movements)
Psychological Hazards (e.g. stress, workplace violence)
Be Aware of the Main Contributing Factors
Being aware of the main categories and types of hazards allows the assessor to go one step further and become aware of contributing factors to hazards. These are the main contributing factors to consider:
Are they overtired?
What motivates them (e.g. speed or quality)?
Is there poor communication?
Are the equipment and tools provided appropriate for the task?
Are the manufacturer’s specifications being followed correctly?
What materials are being used?
Are the materials being handled, stored and disposed of properly?
Does the work environment introduce any hazards? Factors include facility layout, ventilation, lighting, walking surfaces, weather etc.
Being aware of the main contributing factors of workplace hazards will significantly improve the hazard identification step of a risk assessment. Finally, risk assessments must be reviewed periodically to ensure that they are fit for purpose.
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