Keeping workers safe on the job can be a full-time responsibility for many busineesses. Identifying hazards and managing the risks associated with them is the best way to reduce or eliminate worker injuries.
A hazard is anything that has the potential to harm a person. Hazards can be physical, chemical, and biological agents used during work, but it can also be work practices, such as moving or lifting heavy objects. Employers have a responsibility to their employees and clients to keep the workplace free of hazards, but it requires everyone on the job to stay alert and watch for dangers.
Risk assessment is the process of identifying and determining the danger from a potential hazard. There are two main questions to ask when a hazard is spotted. First, how likely could the hazard harm someone? Then, ask yourself, how badly could that person be harmed? If the hazard cannot be easily fixed without potential harm, then the supervisor should be informed.
Although it is the employer’s responsibility to fix hazards, many times the employees can fix simple hazards without danger to themselves, such as picking up things from the floor or mopping up a spill. The best way to eliminate risk from hazards is to get rid of the hazard altogether. Instead of using dangerous chemicals to clean windows, choose a less toxic solution, for example.
Some hazards at the workplace may not be able to be eliminated, but employers should always identify hazards and find ways to make hazards less dangerous. When hazards are not managed, an accident or worse, death, can occur. If this happens, the family of the deceased may file a lawsuit with a wrongful death attorney for damages against the employer or business owner.
Employee training that includes comprehensive safety and injury prevention are key to managing hazards. Safeguards can be implemented to make machinery, tools, and equipment safer to use. Safety barriers can mark hazardous areas to warn workers who aren’t properly trained to stay out of that area. When it comes to safety on a job site, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.