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Assessing Hazards in your Workplace

There are numerous ways hazards are assessed in the workplace; informal and formal worksite inspections, toolbox talks, safety meetings, project risk assessments, field level risk assessments and job hazard assessments.

So how exactly do you assess the risks?  What are the hazards in your workplace and how can they be identified?

  1. PLAN THE WORK – when the work is planned out, you can work through the steps of the job identifying any known hazards
  2. WALK THE WORK AREA – it’s important to assess the area where the work is to be executed.  When doing so, ask yourself what’s the worst possible thing that could happen?  Then work backwards to put controls in place to prevent it.
  3. INSPECT – always do pre-use inspections on tools, equipment and material.  There may be hazards identified through this process that require controls prior to executing the job.
  4. REVIEW – safe work practices and procedures relating to the tasks to be executed should be reviewed within a reasonable amount of time before doing the work, or anytime those documents have been revised.
  5. TRAINING – assess the job to verify the required training.  Specialized training should be verified prior to work execution.
  6. TEAM WORK – utilize your co-workers and leadership team to assess every job for hazards.  Everyone sees things from a different perspective and can offer additional risks not already identified.
  7. ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS – while not always immediately obvious, it’s important to consider environmental factors and impending weather conditions.  This is especially important when working outside.

It’s important that you and your team are educated in the process of identifying workplace hazards on an ongoing basis.  Conditions at the workplace can change at a moment’s notice, so it’s important to always remain aware.  Review all hazard assessments with all workers that are involved in the job.

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