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Identifying hazards at the workplace

Your first step in protecting workers involves accurately identifying potential hazards in your workplace. You are looking for all things and situations that could harm your employees who may be on site. Hazard identification begins with an inspection of the workplace. Monitoring how work tasks are performed, assessing the equipment used by workers and reviewing how that equipment is configured, and analyzing the design and layout of work areas

Can I do more to keep my employees safe?

Hazards are usually associated with the following aspects of work:

  • physical work environment

  • equipment

  • materials and substances used in the workplace

  • how work tasks are

  • working design and management


When you work in the same place every day, it's easy to overlook the dangers. Here are some tips to help you identify workplace risks:

Refer to the manufacturer's instructions or safety data sheets and consider long-term health hazards such as high noise levels, non-routine operations such as maintenance or cleaning operations, or changes in production runs.

For chemicals, refer to the manufacturer's instructions or safety data sheets. Remember to think about long-term health hazards such as exposure to harmful substances.

Conduct a general review of your incident health records, accident records, and employee complaint records. It can help identify less obvious hazards.

Consult with your employees about any health and safety issues they encounter in their work. Keep communication open with your employees as they identify risks to employees and production.

Hazards are of six types: safety, biological, physical, ergonomic, chemical, and workload.

Safety hazards can affect any worker, but they are most likely to affect those who work with machines or on a construction site. Safety hazards include slips, trips, and falls; dangerous machinery; and electrical hazards.

Biological hazards are dangerous. These include exposure to hazardous substances and diseases associated with work with animals, humans, or infectious plant materials.

Physical hazards can affect those who work in extreme weather or hazardous conditions. Workers constantly exposed to loud noise, radiation, sunlight, and ultraviolet may be at risk.

Ergonomic hazards affect people whose workplaces stress their bodies. Roles that require lifting or sitting for long periods can cause damage over time.

Chemical hazards mainly threaten workers whose duties involve hazardous liquids, solvents, or flammable gases.

Workload hazards include issues that can cause stress or tension, such as workload, violence, or aggression.

Training is essential when it comes to identifying and eliminating hazards in the workplace. It can be broad in scope, but it must also cover the correct approach to the dangers that arise in specific work situations. Creating a positive safety culture in the workplace is also a fundamental part of employee engagement in health and safety matters. A positive safety culture means creating an environment where employees feel they can share any problems they may have without fear of getting into trouble. A positive safety culture also has a beneficial effect on staff motivation and productivity.


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