Throughout 2016, there have been 41 Michigan worker deaths. Utilizing risk assessments and identifying potential hazard prior to work may have prevented these unfortunate circumstances. The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) states you must analyze all potential risks and implement control measures to reduce or remove the risks associated with your work activities.
Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment: Is defined as outlining the process for hazard identification, risk assessment and hazard mitigation for all project specific hazards relating to your work tasks and work environments. Hazard identification must be included in your PTP with detailed information on the work activities and known hazards related to those activities. Following an assessment of previously identified hazards and control measures you must implement safeguards and/or barriers to address them.
There are many sources of hazards in a workplace.
Three likely sources that we should consider:
1.People: Lack of training, poor communication, rushing, fatigue and other factors may cause at-risk behaviors.
2.Equipment and Materials: Some equipment, tools and materials used in the job process are inherently hazardous, and others become hazardous over time due to inadequate maintenance, storage, or disposal.
3.Workplace Environment: Factors such as facility layout, ventilation and lighting, walking surfaces, temperature and other variables can all be sources of hazards.
Other things to consider when assessing risk: What has changed since the job started? What can go wrong? What controls are required? Who in the work party is responsible for ensuring the control is in place? Did you utilize all resources to identify potential hazards? Was there a rescue plan prepared in case of an emergency?
The Bottom Line:
Being aware of hazards in your surroundings can affect your safety in the workplace. If the job or environment change, the hazards could change as well. It is important to remember that hazards can come from more than one source and it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure all risks in the workplace are identified and communicated to all workers. It’s crucial for us to utilize risk assessments as they form part of our daily routines. As we are going to our job sites today, lets ask what hazards are we likely to encounter, what are their sources and what we can do to prevent or minimize the known hazards?