Maintaining a safe environment requires consistent evaluation to identify hazards. Identify safety issues and determine what should be done to solve them by conducting a risk assessment. Apply these five steps to ensure a successful risk assessment to improve safety facility-wide.
The following is a transcript of the Risk Assessment infographic:
To improve safety in a facility, you need to understand and address the safety issues. A standardized way to get this understanding and create effective improvements is a Risk Assessment. The same general approach can be used for most types of safety issues, as with Electrical Risk Assessments or Chemical Risk Assessments.
Every Successful Risk Assessment Includes These Five Steps:
Step 1: CREATE A LIST
What Are We Thinking About?
Make a list of the safety issues you need to address. This may be a Chemical Inventory, Equipment Inventory, a Job/Task List, or all of those things. EXAMPLES: Degreasers, Work Platform, Oven Exhaust, Feeding the Alligators
Step 2: IDENTIFY THE HAZARDS
What’s the Problem?
For each item on the list, identify the specific hazards involved. (A hazard is a potential source of injury or loss.) EXAMPLES: Toxic Chemicals, High Ledge, Hot Surface, Hungry Alligators
Step 3: EVALUATE THE RISK
How Bad is it?
For each hazard, consider the following: How likely is the hazard to actually cause harm? a. How often are people exposed to the hazard? b. When a person is exposed, how likely is that exposure to lead to a harmful event? c. When a harmful event happens, how difficult is it for a person to avoid harm?
If a person is actually harmed by the hazard, how serious will that harm be? The combination of these ideas — that is, the combination of the likelihood and the severity of an injury that results from a hazard — is called Risk.
The degreaser is used for hours every day, and contact with the liquid or fumes can cause irritation (high likelihood). Brief exposures will only cause nausea (low severity). Overall, this is a medium risk.
Workers only need to access the raised platform for annual inspections, and guards are in place (low likelihood). However, a fall could be deadly (high severity). Overall, this is a medium risk.
The oven exhaust system is hard to reach, and work on it requires the oven to be locked out (low likelihood). The surfaces are only hot enough to cause first-degree burns (low severity). Overall, this is a very low risk.
Feeding alligators from the edge of the alligator pit is a very high-risk activity; it would be easy for the feeder to fall in (high likelihood), and they could be eaten by the alligators (high severity). Overall, this is a very high risk.
Step 4: ASSIGN CONTROLS
What Should be Done?
Once you’ve evaluated the risks involved with a hazard, assign protective steps, or Controls, to reduce those risks. A common approach is to use the Hierarchy of Controls, which tries the most effective types of controls first:
Remove the hazard entirely.
Stop using the solvent
Lower equipment to ground level
Switch to room-temperature curing process
Send alligators to zoo
Replace a high-risk hazard with a low-risk hazard.
Use a less dangerous solvent
Lower equipment to reduced height
Reduce oven temperature
Replace alligators with dwarf caimans
3. Engineering Controls
Physically change the equipment or work environment to separate workers from the hazard.
Install a fume hood
Add locking gate to platform to prevent access
Add stand-off mesh around exhaust lines
Build guardrails around pit
Provide information to help workers understand the risks and act safely.
Chemical safety training and container labels
Fall protection training
“Hot Surface” signs
Alligator warning signs
5. Administrative Controls
Create instructions or safe work procedures for expected conditions.
Adhere to time limits for solvent use
Require written approval to access platform
Run oven cycle only during off shifts
Prohibit workers from crossing boundary line
6. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Provide protective gear for workers to wear as a last line of defense
Gloves and goggles
Fall arresting harness
Long sleeves and gloves
Big dog-training suit
Step 5: DOCUMENT THE ASSESSMENT
It’s hard to make lasting improvements in the long run without writing things down. For your Risk Assessment, create documentation that shows these details:
Who did the assessment, and when?
What safety issues were evaluated?
What were the hazards and risks, as assessed?
What controls were assigned, and who was responsible for implementing them?
SOLUTIONS JUST FOR YOU
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