It is common knowledge that workers are frequently exposed to many occupational risks at once, and research on workplace health and safety has prioritized the need for better studies into multiple exposures in the workplace.
Australian statistics are clear about work hazards. The NHEWS study found that 3760 workers (86%) had experienced at least one of the nine occupational hazards. 20% of employees said they have come into contact with at least five dangers. Only five workers out of the nine dangers mentioned in this research claimed exposure.
There are many different sorts of workplace hazards, including chemical hazards, ergonomic hazards, safety physical hazards, etc. These hazards can be used to identify any dangerous chemicals, work activities, physical elements, and other factors that could endanger your team members.
This all explains very well why recognizing hazards in the workplace is so important for its prevention and securing the workplace. Let’s explain some of the ways of recognizing hazards in the workplace.
Inspect the workplace frequently
It is important to inspect the workplace regularly and identify any hazards that may be present. Regular inspection not only helps you to identify any potential hazards but also helps in identifying the cause of accidents and preventing them.
The inspection must be carried out by a qualified person who is aware of the risks present at the workplace. The person should be well-trained and experienced in identifying hazards and assessing risks at work.
The inspection should include all parts of the workplace, including machinery, equipment, tools, and materials. The person in charge of inspections should check if any new or changed items have been brought into the workplace without permission.
Prepare the workplace with proper equipment
Most workplaces are not prepared for hazards like slips, trips, and falls.
To prevent these accidents, we need to prepare our workplaces with the right safety equipment.
For example, we should make sure that there is proper lighting in dark areas and that the floor is free of any obstructions, such as garbage, which could trip someone. The floor should be easily cleanable, without too many obstructions.
Collect information on existing hazards
OSHA advises gathering information on workplace dangers that already exist on-site as the first step in reducing them. This can be done in a variety of ways, such as by reviewing the dangers noted in earlier hazard assessments and inspections, reviewing job hazard analyses, asking front-line staff and team members about potential risks on the job, and more.
Safe Work Australia can give you some insight on this matter if you live in Australia, especially when it comes to managing risks at construction sites. Keeping people safe in a hazardous environment requires effective risk management in the construction industry.
l working your way up the control measure hierarchy
l making a plan for emergencies
l developing and putting into practice a safe work management plan (SWMS) for any construction that poses a high risk.
Inspect possible health hazards
Finding health dangers comes after gathering information and inspecting your workplace. These can be more challenging to identify because they can not be visible to the unaided eye, such as the persistent COVID-19 virus. The fact that certain dangers provide immediate risks while others take time to manifest is another factor that makes this difficult to assess.
When evaluating health-related hazards on-site, keep in mind to be aware of any prior medical conditions team members may have. Be cautious when asking a front-line employee to lift big goods, for example, if you discover they have back issues.
Carry out incident investigations
This entails examining every occurrence that has previously happened there or could happen in the future, from near misses to real injuries. The objective of this investigation is to identify the origins or underlying causes of the incident while remaining open to the possibility that other factors may also be at work.
Establish a thorough protocol to aid in identifying a workplace hazard, involving chosen team members who undertake such investigations and documenting all aspects of the incident. It’s important to be as transparent as possible and close the feedback loop with employees and management once everything has been documented, including what caused the incident, what corrective actions were taken, how knowledgeable the worker was using these tools and carrying out this job task, etc.
Team members can take the appropriate action to make sure this doesn’t happen again once everything has been analyzed. This might include new training for hazard prevention, where Zokal Safety Australia is an expert.
Workplace hazards are an unfortunate reality of a working environment. However, it is not necessary to accept these workplace hazards as unavoidable byproducts of the workplace. There are many ways that companies can take measures to prevent these hazards from occurring, and the first step is acknowledging the problem. Proper training with a reliable team of experts can save many lives. Don’t hesitate to carry out training often because things are forgotten and it’s always good to refresh.
With a proper inspection of employees and equipment, along with good protocols and professional training, you might be free of lethal accidents in the future, which is priceless.