Workplace Safety: Conducting a Hazard/Risk Analysis
Anyone within the safety industry knows how many moving parts go into ensuring that workplace safety needs are met. While it can be easy to get caught up in what exactly to include within a comprehensive workplace safety plan, SoloProtect believes that there are certain elements of workplace safety that are absolutely essential to its success. One of the elements SoloProtect deems necessary for safety effectiveness is hazard/risk analysis. Read on to learn why this is so important and guidelines for conducting a hazard/risk analysis at your workplace.
Why is hazard/risk analysis necessary?
The answer is fairly simple: this process of worksite analysis is a proactive safety measure that allows an organization to locate opportunities for accidents before they occur, allowing safety professionals to either correct risks and hazards or to create precautionary procedures around them and reducing the likelihood of an accident.
You may be thinking that it seems nearly impossible to correctly identify and fix the innumerable amount of hazards and risks that can be present within an organization. In a way, you’re right! There are definitely tactics that you can implement to ensure you are performing a detailed analysis, but there is simply always the potential for an oversight to occur. Because of this and the reality that the workplace is constantly changing, it is recommended to perform worksite analyses on a regular basis.
How can I perform a successful analysis?
When conducting an analysis of your own, consider the following :
- Request inspection checklists from manufacturers of equipment owned/used within your workplace.
- Walk through your workplace in its entirety in search of any physical facet that present dangerous situations.
- Sit in on any and all workplace procedures/activities, identifying any hazards or risks involved with those processes.
- Conduct employee interviews in order to receive candid feedback centered around what employees themselves think may present risk for them within their job roles.
- In addition to your initial audit, seek out a third party, such as a Loss Control Specialist or a Safety Consultant, to perform an audit with you in order to catch any oversights. Workplace audits provided by Loss Control Specialists are typically a free service provided by workers compensation and property/ casualty insurance companies.
- Perform further analyses in addition to those performed on a routine basis if changes in any of the following occur:
What do I do with the information that I find?
Hazard and risk analyses are as important as they are because of the actions they allow you to take AFTERWARD based on your findings. Once the analysis is conducted, be sure to provide record of any potential dangers that were found. Many organizations will track these risks within a database for easy reviewing and tracking.
From here, you may be able to guess that the first and most blatant step involves fixing or getting rid of any problems that you ran into, such as correcting a loose floorboard that presents the opportunity for a slip/trip. Unfortunately, it will likely not be possible to completely eliminate all hazards that you find, as they remain an inherent part of the job. For such dangers, it is important to develop written procedures that account for these risks and lay out action items for employees to take in order to prevent danger from occurring. Additionally, always keep in mind that certain risks, such as a building fire or instances of workplace violence, can occur at any workplace. Specific emergency procedures developed around these types of risks should be developed in every workplace as a part of hazard and risk management. To learn more about developing written procedures centered around specific hazards, see our free guide, “Building Your Emergency Action Plan.”
By understanding these analyses, performing them thoroughly and taking the appropriate measures based on your findings, you are fulfilling a pertinent aspect of workplace safety and increasing the likelihood of safety within your company. As previously mentioned, SoloProtect believes that hazard/risk analysis is one of several essential workplace safety elements. To learn about other fundamental elements of safety, you can read our download, “The Five Basic Elements of Effective Workplace Safety.”