Job-related injuries occur every day in workplaces across the country. Often these injuries happen because employees have not been trained or, over time, have gotten lax in following safe job procedures.
One way to prevent workplace injuries is to establish proper job procedures and train all employees in safer and more efficient work methods.
The hazards of a job create the potential for harm in practical terms; a hazard often is associated with a condition or activity that, if left uncontrolled, can result in an injury or illness.
Identifying job hazards and eliminating or controlling them as early as possible will help prevent injuries and illnesses.
A job hazard analysis can be performed for all jobs in the workplace, whether the job is “special,” non-routine or routine. Such an approach can analyze jobs with the highest injuries, jobs with potential injuries, those in which human error can lead to a serious accident, and jobs that are new to your operation.
Draw up a checklist
Develop a checklist before beginning your analysis. This may include (but should not be limited to) the following questions:
- Are there trip hazards?
- Are there electrical hazards?
- Is fire protection equipment accessible?
- Are emergency exits clear?
- Are workers operating equipment and vehicles properly?
- Are tools, machines and equipment in need of repair?
- Are employees wearing and using the personal protective equipment?
A job hazard analysis is detective work. The goal is to discover the following:
- What can go wrong?
- What are the consequences?
- How could problems arise?
- Are there other contributing factors?
- How likely is it that the hazard will occur?
- Where it is happening? (Environment)
- Who or what it is happening to? (Exposure)
- What precipitates the hazard? (Trigger)
- The outcome that can occur (consequence), and any other contributing factors like:
– Is the worker wearing protective equipment?
– Are work positions, machinery, pits or holes and hazardous operations adequately guarded?
– Are there procedures for deactivation of machines during maintenance procedures?
– Is the worker wearing clothing or jewelry that could get caught in machinery?
– Is the worker at any time in an off-balance position?
– Is the worker required to make movements that could cause hand or foot injuries, or strain from lifting?
Employee involvement crucial
Involve employees in your hazard analysis. They have a unique understanding of their jobs and this knowledge is invaluable for identifying hazards.
Involving employees will help oversight and get them to buy in to the solutions, as they will share ownership in their safety and health program.