Make physical changes to the workplace to reduce risk. E.g. install guards, remove tripping hazards, and improve ventilation.
A workplace hazard is anything that can cause harm. It can be any condition, practice or source in the work environment that has the potential to cause harm to employees. Hazards can come in many different forms and can vary depending on the industry and type of work being performed. It is essential for hazards to be identified and controls put in place to ensure the safety and well-being of all employees.
Hazards can come in many different forms, but the following are some of the most common.
These are the most common hazards seen in high-risk work environments such as construction sites and can be due to unsafe work practices or the environment.
Physical hazards, contrary to their name, are not always easily detectable or tangible. In fact, they can be the least obvious compared to other types of hazards.
Physical hazards refer to environmental factors that can cause harm to the body without direct contact and can include such things as noise, radiation, pressure, excessive exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet rays, gases, and extreme temperatures.
Psychosocial hazards or business operational hazards can cause both physical and psychological harm, such as stress and mental health problems. Typical Hazards include can include:
A chemical hazard refers to the potential dangers associated with the preparation and use of chemicals in the workplace and can affect the health of workers in different ways.
Chemical substances can enter the body through inhalation, skin contact, or swallowing. Symptoms can be immediate, such as vomiting, nauseous, suffering burns or breathing difficulties. Or long-lasting, including asthma, skin conditions, liver damage, or cancer.
Proper safety measures, ventilation, and protective equipment are crucial to minimize exposure and protect workers' health in the presence of these chemical hazards.
Biological hazards can be encountered in various workplaces, including healthcare facilities, schools, laboratories, agricultural environments, and natural ecosystems. Those who work with people, animals or infectious plant materials are usually most at risk, for example, in nursing homes, farms, hospitals, schools or laboratories.
Biological hazards can be transmitted through direct contact with infected individuals, ingestion or inhalation of contaminated substances, or exposure to contaminated objects or surfaces. Some biological hazards workers may come across:
Physical conditions that may cause harm or pose a risk to a worker's body, such as musculoskeletal or wear and tear injuries. Often seen in jobs that require repetitive movement, awkward postures, stationary positions, and forceful motions.
Hazard management is the process of identifying, assessing, and controlling potential workplace hazards to ensure employees' safety and well-being.
The primary reason for managing hazards is to prevent harm to employees, as hazards can result in injury, illness, or even death.
It is a critical aspect of workplace health and safety and has several important benefits, including:
Generally, businesses will carry out a Risk Assessment to identify and prioritise hazards in the workplace. This process involves identifying potential hazards, evaluating the likelihood and severity of harm, and taking steps to control the risks.
Industry standards and regulators also provide guidelines for identifying and controlling hazards in the workplace. Employers should be familiar with these standards and regulations and take steps to comply with them.
Hazard identification usually occurs:
A hazard assessment is a systematic process for identifying, evaluating, and controlling potential hazards in the workplace. The following steps can be taken to conduct a hazard assessment:
Identify potential hazards: Start by identifying potential hazards in the workplace, including physical, chemical, biological, ergonomic, and stress hazards. This can be done through workplace inspections, employee input, and reviewing injury and illness records.
Evaluate the likelihood and severity of harm: Once potential hazards are identified, the next step is to evaluate the likelihood and severity of harm. Consider factors such as the frequency of exposure, the magnitude of harm, and the number of employees affected.
Determine the level of risk: The level of risk associated with a hazard is determined by considering both the likelihood and severity of harm. Hazards that pose a high level of risk should be given priority for control.
Identify control measures: The next step is to identify control measures that can be taken to reduce the risk posed by the hazard. This can include engineering controls, administrative controls, or personal protective equipment.
Implement control measures: Once control measures have been identified, they should be implemented to reduce the risk posed by the hazard. This may involve making physical changes to the workplace, providing training, or purchasing personal protective equipment.
Monitor and review: The final step is to monitor and review the effectiveness of the control measures. Regular monitoring and review can help ensure that hazards are effectively controlled and that any new hazards are identified and addressed.
Managing hazards using pen and paper is not an efficient or effective way to gather safety information, especially when a timely response is crucial.
Using the Lucidity App, workers on the ground can quickly report hazards both online and offline, ensuring that important details such as description, immediate response, time, date, location, and classification are captured. The app is user-friendly, making it easy for anyone to report hazards.
Lucidity offers a centralised solution that categorises incidents, non-conformances, and hazards based on their level of risk. With a built-in database and workflow, businesses can easily report, analyse, and address issues related to HSEQ.