Every year there are more than 2.8 million workplace injuries. Those injuries come in a wide variety ranging from small and insignificant to fatal. Regardless of the severity, employers should be doing all they can to prevent them if possible.
Identifying workplace hazards can seem like a very overwhelming process, there are so many ways things can go wrong. Many wonder where to start and how can hazards be identified in the workplace at all. And that’s exactly where we come in to help you get on the right path to a safer work environment.
We’ve outlined our top six tips for finding the potential safety issues in your workplace to help you get started.
1. Break Down the Process
The first thing to do to identify potential hazards in the workplace is to breakdown the entire workplace piece by piece and the processes used step by step. This allows you to get the most full, accurate view of any possible problems.
When thinking about workplace safety, there are likely some risks for your specific situation that come right to mind. Those are generally the things that already have a solution in place. But if you leave your risk assessment at that stage, you’re likely missing many other potential issues.
Breaking things down and looking at the minute details will allow you to get very specific. One way to do this is to go through the typical day of one of your employees from start to finish. As you (and your safety team) go through each step, you’ll be better able to identify the risks.
2. Look for Repeat Offenders
Once you’ve identified risk it’s a helpful practice to look and see if it can be repeated somewhere else throughout the processes or area. Often times the same threat is posed in several places throughout the work environment.
This is one of the methods of identifying hazards in the workplace that takes some creativity and ingenuity. Often the repeat offenders haven’t shown themselves yet while doing a risk assessment. So you have to think outside of the box for potential issues and places where it could come up again.
But being able to identify these is a huge benefit to the safety of your company. It’s like killing two birds with one stone as usually the same remedy will work in all cases.
3. Use a Broad Lens
When you’re working down the checklist to identify hazards in the workplace, don’t forget to use a broad lens. Sometimes we equate workplace hazards only to line of fire safety. But there are so many ways that an employee could be injured on the job, you can’t limit to those obvious types.
You should also pay attention to any ways that there could be lasting damage to the employees’ bodies based on how they work. Or biological hazards, such as coming into contact with bodily fluids.
Once you broaden your lens when thinking about workplace safety, it’s likely that you’ll be able to identify the potential risks for your specific workplace. Just getting in the right mindset to look at every possible scenario is helpful in creating the safest environment possible.
4. Remember Potential Accidents
It’s easy to focus on the systematic issues that could lead to workplace injuries. But it’s also very important to remember to look for out of the ordinary incidents that could turn into an injury.
Even though accidents are unexpected and obviously can’t always be predicted or prevented, it’s helpful to try to visual what possible things could go wrong to come up with solutions. That often includes looking for potential weak points in any machinery or equipment that you use.
These are definitely the hardest situations to prevent and to protect your employees against. Talking with your employees about what they see and experience can give you the insight you need to create a safer environment overall.
5. Test Resolutions Quickly
Finding potential workplace hazards is just the first step to resolution. It’s important to test your solution to the problem as quickly as possible to see if it will give you the desired results.
It’s difficult to know if a proposed solution will work out more than just in theory until it’s put into action. It’s also difficult to know if there will be additional problems or potential hazards caused by that new action. Testing things out as quickly as you can eliminate a lot of those questions and help you set up the best policies.
Once you come up with the desired solution, make sure to take the time to train all of your employees so everyone is on the same page for safety measures.
6. Perform Regular Audits
Unfortunately, once you’ve gone through all of the methods of identifying hazards in the workplace you’re still not done. Safety hazards are ever-evolving and the work is never done.
In order to make sure your employees are always safe, you need to be performing regular safety audits. This means that you are continually checking in on the procedures and policies you have in place to find any weak spots or things that aren’t working anymore. This is especially important to do when there’s been any kind of change within the workplace.
There are a lot of ways to perform safety audits in the workplace but it’s most important to do them consistently.
Keys to Identifying Workplace Hazards
No one wants to get hurt on the job and no employer wants their employees to be in danger. This is why it’s so important to work on identifying workplace hazards as often as possible.
But it’s not enough to identify them, from there you’ll need to take quick action to remedy the risk and create a more safe environment. Once that’s done you can feel confident that everyone is taken care of and will be safe throughout their workday. Which gives you peace of mind.
If you’re interested in learning more business tips and tricks, check out our other articles today!