The process of identifying and fixing potential hazards in the workplace is called hazard management - a simple procedure where you assess and control the risk of hazards to workers.
Identifying hazards at work
A workplace hazard is something that has the potential to harm the health and safety of people at work.
Some examples of workplace hazards are:
Manual handling includes any activity that requires a person to lift, push, pull, carry, hold or move an object, person or thing. The weight of the object, frequency of manual handling, avoiding sudden or jerky movements, planning the move or lift, lighting and surfaces all need to be considered.
Plant includes all tools, machinery and equipment in the workplace. Poor design, poor maintenance, inexperience and lack of training increases the risk of injury from plant and machinery for operators.
Excessive noise can cause permanent hearing loss and is probably the most common cause of hearing loss in adult males. Hearing loss limits a person's ability to communicate at work, home and socially. There is no medical treatment and hearing aids offer limited benefit.
A hazardous substance is any substance, which can potentially harm the health and safety of workers. Labels and material safety data sheets (MSDS) provide OHS information about the substance.
You can identify hazards by:
- Checking records of injuries and illnesses that have occurred in the workplace.
- Talking to people.
- Reading publications such as the OHSW Regulations and Codes of Practice which identify potential hazards.
- Walking through and inspecting the workplace for situations that could cause harm.