The WHS regulations list a hierarchy of risk control. This hierarchy begins with eliminating the hazard completely down to the least effective method of reducing risks. WHS regulations require that you use the highest control that is reasonably practical to eliminate or minimize the risk.
To control work health and safety risks the best possible scenario is to eliminate the risk in the planning stages of the job. For example, if a job requires that equipment or products be stacked then to eliminate the risk of falling stacks of equipment or products planning to stack the materials at less height over a larger area will eliminate the hazard of falling stacks of boxes or equipment or at least greatly reduce the risk of such a hazard occurring.
To avoid the risk of back injuries due to manual lifting of heavy objects making sure that there are trollies or trucks available to move those objects eliminates or reduces the risks of injuries.
However, if the risk or hazard is already present in the workplace, then you will need to find a practical way to eliminate or reduce the hazard. The first step to control work health, and safety risks already built into the job is by consulting with your workers and their representatives. Discuss with them changes in equipment, or the way the job is performed, and how these changes will eliminate or reduce the hazard that can cause them harm. Get their ideas on workable solutions as well as their concerns.
Keep in mind that in order to control work health and safety risks there may be times when the only practical solution is to institute more than one control to minimize the risk of a single hazard. For example, you may use engineering controls such as a guard rail around a piece of machinery to prevent an employee from getting a limb caught. Then you may deem additional training on operating the machinery is necessary to further reduce the risk of injury.
One of the things you can do in your efforts to control work health and safety risks in the workplace is study what other like industries have done to eliminate or reduce risks and how effective their controls have been. Keep updated on new safety measures that seem to be working and continue to work to further reduce or eliminate each risk.
While some risks may be easy to eliminate or reduce such as adding more lighting or brighter lights to an area, some may take some planning and trial and error to correct. There may also be times when you will use temporary measures to reduce risks as much as possible while instituting better controls. Keep a record of each risk you find and everything you have done to control that risk.
By making the effort, consulting with employees and keeping apprised of new and innovative controls you can not onlycontrol work health and safety risks to your employees, but you will create a more positive working environment for everyone concerned.
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