Hazard Identification for Protection

Employers must identify the workplace hazards before determining how to protect the employees. In performing work site hazard identification, consideration must include not only hazards that currently exist in the workplace but also those hazards that could occur because of changes in operations or procedures or because of other factors, such as concurrent work activities. This is why the following should occur:

  • 1. Perform hazard identification of all work sites prior to the start of work.
  • 2. Perform regular safety and health inspections.
  • 3. Require supervisors and employees to inspect their workplace prior to the start of each work shift or new activity.
  • 4. Investigate accidents and near misses.
  • 5. Analyze trends in accident and injury data.

So that all hazards are identified, conduct comprehensive baseline work site surveys for safety and health and periodic comprehensive updated surveys. Analyze planned and new facilities, processes, materials, and equipment. Perform routine job hazard analyses.

Provide for regular site safety and health inspections, so that new or previously missed hazards and failures in hazard controls are identified. So that employee insight and experience in safety and health protection may be utilized and employee concerns may be addressed, provide a reliable system for employees, without fear of reprisal, to notify management personnel about conditions that appear hazardous and to receive timely and appropriate responses; and encourage employees to use the system. Provide for investigation of accidents and near-miss incidents, so that their causes and means for their prevention are identified. Analyze injury and illness trends over time, so that patterns with common causes can be identified and prevented.

The expected benefits of hazard identification are a decrease in the incidents of injuries, a decrease in lost workdays and absenteeism, a decrease in workers' compensation cost, better productivity, and an increase in cooperation and communication. The baseline for determining the benefit of the hazard identification can be formulated from existing company data on occupational injuries/illnesses, workers' compensation, attendance, profit, and production.

Further Readings

Reese, C.D. Accident/Incident Prevention Techniques (Second Edition). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2012. Reese, C.D. Occupational Health and Safety Management (Third Edition). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2016.

Reese, C.D. and J.V. Eidson. Handbook of OSHA Construction Safety & Health (Second Edition). Boca Raton, FL: CRC/Lewis Publishers, 2006.

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