Every year, over 4 million workers suffer from serious injury or illness received while on the job. Over 4,000 of these incidents result in death. Sadly, many of these injuries and deaths could have been prevented had the employer identified and controlled hazards ahead of time. One way to do this is by conducting frequent job site hazard assessments.
A good job site hazard assessment takes into account all the potential injuries workers could incur as they carry out their day-to-day tasks. Here in Hawaii, even something as small as a bad weather day can have adverse effects on your worker’s safety. For example, if your team operates in an open-air environment, you should have a plan for voggy and humid days which can cause high blood pressure and increased body temperature in your workers.
By looking ahead and thinking through all the factors that contribute to an accident or injury, you’ll be better equipped to set-up preventative measures to control or eliminate the hazard altogether. Take a look at these four basic steps to conducting a successful job site hazard assessment and keep your workers and yourself safe from injury at your worksite.
1. Start with a position. Think about all the different types of positions in your company. Which job is the most common? What are most of your workers doing on a day-to-day basis? For example, perhaps you identify that the majority of your workers are Warehouse Workers.
2. Describe the job process. Next to each position you’ve listed, write down the responsibilities associated with that job. Keep in mind that the goal of this assessment is to find potential hazards the worker could come into contact with, so the more detailed you are with your list of responsibilities, the better. For the Warehouse Worker position, you might list “directing the delivery truck to the loading dock, unloading a shipment, and operating a forklift” as a few of the responsibilities.
3. Identify potential risks. Once the responsibilities of each position have been thoroughly examined, it’s time to think about the potential hazards associated with each of those tasks. For example, next to “directing the delivery truck to the loading dock” you may list hazards such as “falling from the elevated loading dock, getting hit by a delivery truck, slipping due to rain, boxes falling on a worker,” etc.
4. Come up with solutions. Now that you have completed your analysis you can start to combat the risks you’ve identified. Make your way through each hazard and come up with solutions and preventative measures. For example, a solution for “falling from the elevated loading dock” might be “install railings or gates around edge of loading dock”.
There’s no doubt that the importance of conducting job site hazard assessments is crucial. You may even want to complete this assessment for every position in your company. Not only could this save your workers from potentially fatal injuries; it will spare your company expensive fines and legal fees.
For more information on job hazard analysis, visit OSHA.gov. Or contact us to set up a special job site safety evaluation or safety education class with our risk management team.