There were 977 workplace-related fatalities in Canada in 2012, the most recent year for official statistics from Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada. And with the criminal code in Canada revised to make companies or individuals criminally liable for not taking safety precautions, it is more important than ever to be aware of hazards in the workplace and to be scrupulous about hazard assessments.
Don’t risk unnecessary prosecution – here are 5 steps you can take to ensure your workplace hazard assessment is as comprehensive as possible.
1) Work in a team
Form a group of at least two people for your hazard assessment team. One person may not be aware or notice certain things another person might. For this reason, it is important for employers in different positions or in different sectors of your company be involved. It is also a good idea to hire an outside consultant for a fresh pair of eyes.
2) Review past accidents
Look at any incident reports and determine their cause. It is also important to talk to your employees to find out if there have been any near-misses or undue risks taken on the job. This information can help you mitigate hazards in the future.
3) Involve your employees
Ask staff for input on hazards and how to control them. People working in the most hazardous areas of your business can point you toward risky practices and will offer useful tips in mitigating these hazards.
4) Avoid assumptions
Just because no one has been injured doing a certain task yet, do not assume it is safe. Ask yourself “what if” questions for each task that may illuminate possible hazards and risks.
(5) Plan your assessment workflow
Determine how you will organize your hazard assessment in advance. Whether it centers around tasks, equipment, job roles, or physical locations, being consistent in your approach will help you be as thorough as possible.
Although accidents in your company may still happen, being as conscientious as possible in your hazard assessments can help lessen the seriousness of those accidents, and help protect your company from prosecution and other damaging consequences.