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If it is your responsibility to manage work, health and safety risks, the first thing you need to do is to identify work, health and safety risks that could result in injury or harm to your employees. This can seem an overwhelming task for those who are new just opening a business, have made major changes to an existing business and those new to position where part of their job is to manage these risks.
However, keep in mind that to identify work, health, and safety risks it is best done on an ongoing basis and using a check list for your business can help make the task easier.
To identify work, health and safety risks, it involves looking at things and situations which could result in injury or harm to a workers health. This means looking closely at:
・ The actual physical environment where work is carried on. Is there adequate light and ventilation? Is the working space large enough to perform all tasks safely? Are there any hazards that could result in injury such as uneven floors or poor material storage, or poor housekeeping practices.
・ Next take a good look at the machinery being used. Is the machinery designed for the function it is being used for? Is it in good working order and repair? Does it need any guards or other addition to prevent injury to a workers limbs? Is the noise from the machinery likely to affect the workers hearing?
・ Study the material and substances being use. Do these pose any hazards such as using chemicals or heavy materials needing to be lifted or moved by hand.
・ You are also going to need to look at each work task and how it is performed. Are the employees properly trained to used the necessary tools? Are they using the safety equipment provided? Is there undue pressure placed on them to perform the job faster than reasonably safe?
・ Work design and management. Is the job designed to be done with health and safety in mind. Is the supervisor of the area managing the work in a manner that may pose a safety or health risk to one or more employees? Does the job require repetitive movement, likely to cause fatigue, or undue stress?
In order to find and identify work, health and safety risks regularly walk around and observe everything. Make a list of those hazards you find. If there is an immediate risk such as a spill then immediately stop the work being done, remove the workers to a safe place and take care of the risk immediately.
Talk to the employees and make a note of their health or safety concerns and any suggestions they have for eliminating or reducing those those concerns. Look for instances of bullying or harassment that may be going on, but employees may be reluctant to talk about.
Take the time to look at past records of accidents, injuries or other related problems. Chances are if an accident occurred once it can happen again unless controls have been put in place to prevent future accidents.
By remaining alert and using all resources at your disposal you can identify work, health and safety risks and take steps to correct them.
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