To achieve a safe workplace employers and workers need to work together to manage hazards. The hazard management process involves identifying hazards, assessing the risks associated with the hazard and eliminating or controlling these risks in the workplace.
A hazard is something that has the potential to harm the health, safety and welfare of people at work and/or cause damage to plant and equipment. The situation could involve a task, chemical or equipment used.
Some common hazards in the workplace are:
Assessing the risk
A risk is the likelihood of a person becoming injured or ill, as a result of exposure to a hazard. Your employer is required to assess the risk to your health and safety created by any identified hazard and you should be involved in the risk assessment process where the hazard could affect you.
If there are many hazards in a workplace, it is important to assess which produce the greatest risk and prioritise those hazards to be fixed first.
Where the identified hazard is assessed as being a risk then appropriate control measures need to be developed and implemented to either eliminate or control the risk/s.
Controlling the risk
There are many ways to control risks and ideally control measures should be implemented to eliminate the hazard altogether.
The priority order for controlling risk is known as the ‘hierarchy of controls’:
Administrative controls and PPE should not be relied on as the only form of permanent control measures, as they do not eliminate the hazard or reduce its potential to harm, but rely instead on the employee/s to work with or around it.
Personal protective equipment (PPE)
Where PPE is provided by your employer it is a requirement that it fits, provides the appropriate level of protection and that the employee uses it correctly for this purpose. Your employer should provide you with training in:
Last updated: 21 October, 2010
Employers and employees within South Australia can contact their local SafeWork SA office, or the Help Centre, for the cost of a local call. This service is available Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8.30am to 5.30pm, and on Wednesdays from 8.30am to 4.15pm (excluding public holidays)