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Five steps toward tent safety

October 1st, 2011 / By: / Safety & Codes

Conduct a hazard analysis to protect employees and your business.

Many workers are injured and killed at the workplace every day in the United States. You can help prevent workplace injuries and illnesses by looking at your workplace operations, establishing proper job procedures and ensuring that all employees are trained properly.

Conducting a job hazard analysis is a vital step toward eliminating and preventing hazards in workplaces. Such an analysis is likely to result in fewer worker injuries and illnesses; safer, more effective work methods; reduced workers’ compensation costs; and increased worker productivity. The analysis also can be a valuable tool for training new employees in the steps required to perform their jobs safely.

Follow these steps to identify and reduce hazards:

1. Involve your employees.

Employees have a unique understanding of the job, and this knowledge is invaluable for finding hazards. Involving employees will help minimize oversights, ensure a quality analysis, and get workers to “buy in” to the solutions because they will share ownership in their safety and health program.

2. Review your accident history.

Review with your employees your worksite’s history of accidents and occupational illnesses that needed treatment, losses that required repair or replacement, and any “near misses”—events in which an accident or loss did not occur, but could have. These events are indicators that the existing hazard controls (if any) may not be adequate and deserve more scrutiny.

3. Conduct a preliminary job review.

Discuss with your employees the hazards they know exist in their current work and surroundings. Brainstorm with them for ideas to eliminate or control those hazards.

4. List, rank and set priorities for hazardous jobs.

List jobs with hazards that present unacceptable risks, based on those most likely to occur and with the most severe consequences. These jobs should be your first priority for analysis.

5. Outline the steps or tasks.

Nearly every job can be broken down into job tasks or steps. When beginning a job hazard analysis, watch the employee perform the job and list each step as the worker takes it.

Be sure to record enough information to describe each job action without getting overly detailed. Avoid making the breakdown of steps so detailed that it becomes unnecessarily long or so broad that it does not include basic steps. You may find it valuable to get input from other workers who have performed the same job. Later, review the job steps with the employee to make sure you have not omitted something. Point out that you are evaluating the job itself, not the employee’s job performance. Include the employee in all phases of the analysis—from reviewing the job steps and procedures to discussing uncontrolled hazards and recommended solutions.

For more information, contact OSHA.

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