Hazards and Risks
Managing Safety in the Workplace
Workplace hazards are present in all industries. Being aware of them and known what to do to eliminate or reduce the consequences associated with them is key to how we manage them and minimise the possibility of employees or others getting injured. Like all aspects of Safety good communication and understanding is incredibly important. For hazards to be reported they must first be identified, and for them to be identified it is necessary for employees to know what a hazard is.
So what is a hazard?
Everyone will have their own definition. Putting it simply it is something that has the potential to cause harm to someone or as stated by the HSA “A hazard is a potential source of harm or adverse health effect on a person or persons.
What about a risk?
A risk is the likelihood of someone getting injured or as stated by the HSA ‘A risk is the likelihood that a person may be harmed or suffer adverse health effects if exposed to a hazard’
For example, a puddle of water in a room would be a slipping hazard, however if there was a barrier around this puddle to prevent someone from going near the puddle the risk or likelihood of them getting injured would be greatly reduced.
Hazards and risks need to be evaluated together, for this to be done sufficiently a Risk assessment needs to be completed and the most suitable control measures implemented. Control measures are actions that remove the hazard or reduce the likelihood of the risk. When we look at control measures, we often refer to the hierarchy of controls. When completing our risk assessments, it is important to ensure that the residual risk following the implementation of control measures is as low as is reasonably possible.
To ensure that all hazards are identified and assessed everyone in the workplace needs to have a responsibility for Safety. Having a good Safety Culture and Safety system in place and ensuring you have the “buy in” from management and employees will help to achieve this. Like all company’s you are only as good as your workers and if you don’t show them appreciation and offer them a safe workplace then you run the risk of having a workplace with a high incident rate which in turn will start costing you money and possibly lives