A hazard doesn’t become safe because you see it happen every day. Common sense, yes, but this “hazard blindness” happens to the best of us. Not using safety goggles becomes part of the norm, and you don’t even notice that the work bench you always work from is unstable anymore. However, if this mindset continues when doing a hazard assessment or inspection, this can spell D-A-N-G-E-R.
Here is a list of 20 questions to ask when doing a hazard assessment that can help you recover from “hazard blindness”:
Is there any noise in the workplace?
Would workers be subject to vibrations?
Are there any temperature extremes that could affect workers, equipment, or materials?
Are workers exposed to any radiation?
Are workers working at times of day that could affect vision?
Are workers exposed to anything that can be inhaled, ingested or absorbed into the body?
Are all chemicals labelled and classified properly?
Are all workers that are dealing with chemicals trained or certified in handling those specific chemicals?
Are provisions supplied for possible chemical accidents?
Are workers exposed to living things or substances produced by living things that can cause illness; through inhalation, ingestion or absorption?
Is there proper disposal of biological hazards available?
Are all workers that are dealing with those substances trained or certified in handling?
Ergonomic or Work Design Hazards
Can injury or strain arise from the design and organization of a worker’s work space?
Are there any blind spots or poorly lit areas in the work space?
Are all shelving or storage units secured?
Are walking and driving paths clear and free of obstructions?
Stress or Psychosocial Hazards
Are workers at risk from threats or violent attacks from the public?
Are individuals at risk from bullying or aggression from other employees within the company?
Are tasks evenly distributed to prevent one individual from experiencing work overload?
Are job roles defined so workers don’t feel uncertain and lacking job control?
Now that you are more attuned to hazard identification, try writing 20 unique questions specific to your own work space! The more questions you ask, the more comprehensive your assessment will be, and the safer your work space will become.
For more tips on hazard identification and workplace safety, look up our whitepapers here.