Well, that was an accident waiting to happen! How often do we hear those words after something breaks or there is physical injury? In the workplace it is never acceptable for someone to know that something might cause harm and yet do nothing about it. Apart from personal injury, accidents and incidents can affect staff morale, lower productivity, be expensive to rectify and, in some cases, result in prosecution.
A hazard register is a key workplace tool for reducing the risk of accidents and incidents. This is a living document that all workers should be engaged in keeping current. It has four key sections:
In the first hazards are identified. List the things that might cause harm, where they are located, when they were identified and who identified them.
The second section prioritises action on the hazards by considering the harm the hazard might cause and the likelihood of this harm occurring.
The third section details what you are going to do about controlling and managing the hazard. It records whether the hazard will be eliminated or minimised, the action that will be taken to achieve this, who is responsible for this work, the allocated budget, a proposed timeframe and a review date.
Where the hazard affects employee health, the fourth section identifies the proposed health check procedure, how often this will be conducted, a timeframe and who is responsible.
The most successful hazard identification and management have an adequate budget assigned and involve all workers.
This article was first published in the Mercury Bay Informer of 4 March 2020. See www.theinformer.co.nz