Hazard ID and risk management
Every workplace has many hazards to be identified, assessed, and controlled. It is important to identify all hazards in the workplace and evaluate the risks associated with these hazards to lower the risk of injury and property damage.
An effective hazard ID program should include how you will identify hazards and conduct risk assessments. It should also address:
- Roles and responsibilities of those involved in hazard identification
- How your company will use the information
- Training for employed involved in risk assessment
- Regular review of the program
There are many ways for you to identify hazards in the workplace:
- Worker hazard reporting – workers must report any hazards in the workplace.
- Formal hazard identification/risk assessment to identify typical hazards related to tasks at your worksite.
- Incident investigation to prevent recurrence of an incident by identifying the hazard and its cause.
- Workplace inspections should include regular reviews of the workplaces, equipment and work practices to identify hazards before an incident occurs.
Once you have identified hazards it’s critical to assess the level of risk and develop a risk rating for each hazard. The risk rating will determine the priority of hazards and help you to choose effective control measures to mitigate the risk.
Choose your control measures based on how well they can reduce your risks. Control hazards as much as possible at their source and along the path to your workers. In most cases, it will be most effective to implement a combination of control measures to increase their effectiveness.
Identify the control measures and reference them in your safe work procedures. These procedures explain how to complete tasks safely and outline for workers how to use and check the controls for each task. Proper use of control measures must be enforced via supervisor observations, crew talks, workplace inspections and disciplinary action (as needed).
Training and communication for hazard identification
Workers must train in hazard identification and risk assessment to participate in assessments. Additionally, train ALL workers in the safe work procedures related to the tasks specific to their roles in the workplace. Keep training records on file.
When a new hazard is identified, communicate about it promptly to workers. Some ways to communicate include:
- crew talks
- written notices on bulletin boards
- one-to-one meetings with employees
- staff meetings