Are You Assessing ALL Hazards in Your Work Area? A hazard assessment is a careful examination of what could cause harm to people, so you can take steps to correct unsafe conditions and prevent harm. When you first arrive to your work area, take the time to look around for hazards that could cause injury. Keep in mind that hazards aren’t just limited to the level you’re working on. Always look up and around so you can identify all of them. There are 5 steps to hazard assessment: 1) Identify the hazards 2) Decide who might be harmed and how 3) Evaluate the risks and decide on controls 4) Record, communicate and implement your findings 5) Review your assessment and update when necessary. Remember, hazard identification is a process to ensure your workplace is safe, so be thorough.
Are you Communicating Hazards Properly?
You have probably heard that saying, “What you don’t know can’t hurt you?” Well, guess what? At work, it can! Good communication about the hazards associated with the job site or task is crucial when it comes to injury prevention. There are two ways that you can communicate – verbally and non-verbally. A great example of verbal communication is a discussion between you and a co-worker about task instructions. An example of non-verbal communication would be the use of hand signals or even signage. As you engage in your work each day, it’s important that good communication of hazards associated with the task takes place between you and your co-workers. And remember, if you’re unclear about something, please ask for clarification.
Look Around Your Work Area Once in a While
When you’re performing a task, it’s really easy to become so focused on it that you fail to notice what’s happening around you. Keep in mind that other people are working around you and with that comes the potential for additional hazards to form that you may not even be aware of. When performing your task, take some time to look around your work area occasionally to see if new hazards have been created. You could notice new workers in your area and their work may impact yours. You might also notice tools or equipment left behind by others that could pose a tripping hazard. While assessing you work area for change, if you notice hazardous conditions, take immediate action to safe out your work area to prevent injury to yourself and others.
Be Prepared for Unexpected Changes in your Work Area
We all do our best to ensure our work areas are safe, however, it’s just not possible to exercise absolute control over your work environment. So, what can you do? Well, work with what you can control. For example, you can control how you prepare yourself to handle any unexpected changes to your work environment that could cause injury. Right? So, before starting any task, take the time to really think about what could possibly change in your work environment and how you will deal with it should that happen. Changes in your work environment can consist of anything including weather changes, or equipment/tools being moved or modified without your knowledge or even work taking place close by that could affect you. By making a conscious effort to be aware of your surroundings, you can protect yourself from new hazards that may develop.
Take Immediate Action to Mitigate ALL Hazards
Hazards can often arise without warning. Perhaps the weather changes and creates a slippery ladder or walking surface. Maybe a task that your co-worker is engaged in creates hazardous conditions for you. Work conditions can change in the blink of an eye, and this is why it’s important to be aware of your surroundings. Please take the time and assess your work area for possible hazards multiple times throughout the day. Doing so will ensure you’re aware of any changes that could affect you. If you happen to notice hazardous conditions, be sure to communicate the information to your co-workers. Also, take the time to safe out the area to prevent injury. Don’t just ignore a dangerous situation. Always take the time to correct it before someone gets hurt.
How Should You Respond to Hazardous Conditions?
When you see a hazard in your work area, what should you do about it? Are you going to wait until someone else corrects the unsafe situation, or should you be proactive and control the hazard yourself? The answer is quite simple – you should own it and do whatever you can to safe out the area. Often a problem can be resolved by correcting unsafe conditions yourself. It’s very easy to just walk by a dangerous situation and do nothing, but have you ever thought about the consequences of turning a blind eye? All hazards in your work area should be remedied immediately to prevent injury to you and your co-workers – even if you didn’t create the dangerous situation. If you have need assistance with controlling hazards in an area speak to your Supervisor.