HOW TO RECOGNIZE AND PREPARE FOR SAFETY HAZARDS IN THE WORKPLACE
Safety Hazards exist in every workplace, but what is a “Safety Hazard”? Safety Hazards are unsafe working conditions that can cause injury, illness and death. For this “Workplace Hazards” issue we will be covering Safety Hazards. They are the most common type of hazards and exist in every workplace.
How to know if something is a Safety Hazard:
Safety Hazards fall into two categories; potentially dangerous equipment or tools, and hazards that may cause slips, trips and falls.
Safety Hazards include but are not limited to:
- Anything that can cause spills or tripping such as cords running across the floor or ice
- Anything that can cause falls such as working from heights, including ladders, scaffolds, roofs, or any raised work area
- Unguarded machinery and moving machinery parts that a worker can accidentally touch
- Electrical hazards like frayed cords, missing ground pins, improper wiring
- Confined spaces that can pose risks from poor air quality or visibility
- Tasks that could potentially lead to an employee being harmed (e.g. making a late-night bank deposit)
Questions to ask about safety hazards when assessing your workplace
Some examples of questions to ask are:
- IS MY EMPLOYEE AT RISK DUE TO THE PHYSICAL LAYOUT OF THE WORKPLACE?
- IS MY EMPLOYEE WORKING WITH ANY DANGEROUS EQUIPMENT, TOOLS, OR MATERIALS?
- IS MY EMPLOYEE AT RISK OF SLIPPING, TRIPPING, OR FALLING?
- ARE THERE ANY BLIND SPORTS OR POORLY LIT AREAS IN THE WORK SPACE?
- ARE WALKING AND DRIVING PATHS CLEAR AND FREE OF OBSTRUCTIONS?
- CAN MY EMPLOYEE SAFELY DO THEIR JOB IN THE WORKPLACE AS IS OR DO CHANGES NEED TO BE MADE TO INCREASE THEIR SAFETY?
- HOW LIKELY IS IT THAT A HAZARDOUS CONDITION OR SITUATION WILL RESULT IN AN INCIDENT?
- IF AN INCIDENT DOES OCCUR, HOW SERIOUS WOULD IT BE?
What to do once Safety Hazards have been identified
Once hazards have been identified, it is important to take corrective action to reduce the risk related to the safety hazards. If injuries have occurred on the job before it is important to investigate the incident and do everything possible to make sure that this workplace injury doesn’t happen again. Assessment of safety measures should be done regularly and whenever the physical layout of the workplace changes. If safety hazards can’t be eliminated, then controls must be implemented to reduce risk to workers.
Administrative Vs. Engineering Controls
Two of the most important controls that can help increase safety in the workplace are engineering and administrative controls.
Engineering controls reduce risk by reducing or eliminating risk through physical means. Some examples of engineering controls are: changing layout, using protective equipment, or installing protective components to the workplace.
Administrative controls reduce risk by changing work processes and activities so that they are safer. Examples of administrative controls include strategic scheduling, planning, staffing and coordinating so that employees are safer.
How working alone exacerbates an employees risk
Working alone increases a workers’ risk because they are exposed to a variety of risks that could be prevented or alleviated if a co-worker were working with them. Lone Workers are more vulnerable to violence, and if they get injured, it is more difficult to ask for help.
Lone Workers should keep areas well lit, make sure all mirrors and security cameras are working, as well as check-in with employers at regular intervals. If employees are physically threatened with violence they should be trained not to resist. Lone workers should always be equipped with a two-way communication system and make sure their vehicle is in good running order. They should also be trained in areas to avoid, safer driving practises and basic vehicle repair.
Employee safety is extremely important, so it is essential to regularly assess and plan for Safety Hazards in the workplace. By following some of these tips you will be better prepared to protect your organizations most valuable asset – the employee.
For more information on how you can keep a job site safe, check out our Safety Services
For more from SafetyLine visit: www.safetylineloneworker.com.