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Hazard Recognition – Where Do You Begin?

- June 6, 2019 by Robert Harrington (View all posts by Robert)

John is the owner of a manufacturing company. He wants to bid for bigger jobs but injuries are preventing him from being able to make the transition due to rising costs. John genuinely cares about his employees well-being and makes sure he has work to keep his employees earning a steady paycheck but he just can’t catch a break. John gets a hold of his loss runs from the last couple of years and tries to see what injuries are driving up the cost.

After doing some research, John comes across an article on hazard identification and recognition. After reading the article, John thinks that this may be the answer. According to the article, hazard recognition is conducting initial and periodic workplace inspections of the workplace to identify new or recurring hazards. John has the information… he just doesn’t know how to begin.

Hazard Recognition

John understands that a hazard assessment is a thorough check of the work environment. He also understands that the purpose of a hazard assessment is to identify potential risks and hazards in the area, as well as to identify appropriate safety measures to be used to mitigate the identified hazards.

There are all sorts of forms online for hazard assessments and checklist… but which one is right for John’s company? What hazards should he look for?

If you were John – what would you do? Read below for best practices.

Best Practices

    • Review your state’s regulatory sites or OSHA’s website for information regarding hazard identification and assessment
    • Conduct facility/job-site walk-around survey focusing on the following areas:
      • Risk related to prior loss or near misses
      • Risks in the eight major exposure areas
        • Manual material handling
        • Falls from elevations
        • Falls on the same level
        • Struck by (including struck by hand tools like blades and hammers as well as struck by machinery)
        • Caught in
        • Exposure to environment (noise, temperature, etc)
        • Cumulative Trauma (Repetitive work, vibration, posture)
        • Occupational Disease (Chemicals, biological hazard
        • Contact your insurance company to see if they offer services to assist with the creation of the documents needed
        • Contact you insurance agent to see what resources they have
        • Conduct employee interviews to gather their ideas about the hazards of the equipment and scope of work conducted daily
        • Review loss runs, accident reports, OSHA logs, and near miss reports for the past 4 years to identify trends and severe incidents

For a look at this process with a more fine tuned focus, please check out Leslie’s blog on how to conduct a knife safety audit. This technique can be used for other exposures as well.