How to conduct Occupational Hazard Identification

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There are numerous possible concerns to an employee’s health and safety in every industry and there are a large number of incidents reported on a yearly basis. These figures highlight how important efficient hazard identification and risk assessments are in order to reduce risks and guarantee a safe working environment.

Workplace accidents can have serious consequences, such as property damage, sickness, and injuries, with a huge financial impact to the company. The secret to prevention is to conduct hazard identification and risk assessments (HIRA) early on and take action before they become more serious.

hira safety

Understanding Occupational Hazards

A wide range of elements, including ergonomic, chemical, biological, physical, and psychosocial elements, are considered occupational risks. It’s necessary to identify these risks in order to establish a secure workplace.

Preventing these risks starts with understanding them. Different industries have different working hazards, such as exposure to hazardous chemicals or malfunctioning machinery. Common hazards in the general workplace include trips and falls, slipping on wet floors and papercuts.

Risks have extensive effects that impact not only individuals but also a company’s entire success and efficiency. Property damage, diseases, and injuries can have long-term effects.

What is HIRA?

HIRA stands for Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment. It is a systematic process used to identify potential hazards, assess the associated risks, and implement control measures to mitigate or manage those risks

Hazard Identification Methods:

  • Reactive vs. Proactive Approaches:

Reactive strategies that are based on events are insufficient. It’s crucial to follow an effective hazard identification, risk assessment procedure to have a proactive, methodical approach.

There are 5 main approaches to hira safety in the workplace.

  • Conduct walkthroughs with an emphasis on tools, procedures, and work habits.
  • Divide the work into manageable sections and note any possible risks related to the task at hand.
  • Examine hazard identification risk assessments and accident reports for any trends that may arise.
  • Employees are a great resource, so ask them about job responsibilities and possible hazards.  Employees may inform you of risks they are facing, which you aren’t aware of.
  • Making use of checklists and method statements will enable you to identify various hazards and risks in the workplace. Effective control measures can be identified and implemented.
what is hira

Evaluating and Prioritizing Hazards:

When conducting a hazard identification risk assessment (HIRA), you need to identify the hazards which the employees are facing in the workplace. It’s crucial that you then identify the risks related to the identified hazards. Evaluate the severity and likelihood of occurrence to prioritise effectively.

This strategic approach allows for a targeted and efficient risk mitigation strategy, focusing resources where they are most needed.

Action Planning and Control Measures:

  • After hazards have been identified and given a priority, create a thorough plan to reduce or eliminate them. This plan must specify certain actions, accountable parties, deadlines, and oversight procedures.
  • Prioritise control measures based on the hierarchy of controls. Emphasise elimination and substitution whenever possible, followed by engineering controls, administrative controls, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as a last resort.
  • It’s important to regularly monitor, review, and update the hazard identification risk assessment procedure. This ongoing commitment to improvement ensures that the workplace remains prepared for risks that may arise.
hazard identification and risk assessment

What are the different types of risk assessment?

Baseline risk assessment:
The process of systematically identifying, analysing, and assessing potential risks related to a certain project, activity, or organisation at a given moment in time is known as a baseline risk assessment. The purpose of this assessment is to create a baseline knowledge of the risks that are currently in place and how they might affect the entity’s goals and objectives.

Issue-based risk assessment:
A risk assessment that concentrates on particular problems or issues inside a project, activity, or organisation is known as an issue-based risk assessment. An issue-based risk assessment, in contrast to a whole baseline risk assessment, focuses on specific difficulties, problems, or concerns that have been determined to be noteworthy or significant.

Continuous risk assessment:
The process of continuously identifying, evaluating, and controlling risks over the course of a project, procedure, or organisation’s life cycle is known as continuous risk assessment. Continuous risk assessment, as opposed to a one-time baseline risk assessment, entails routinely monitoring the risks and modifying them in response to modifications in the internal or external environment. This method recognises that hazards can change over time and that staying informed is essential to risk management success.

Establish a culture of safety in your workplace by using a methodical hazard identification process. Encourage staff members to actively engage in the procedure, fostering a team-based approach.

The benefits of an effective risk approach are cost savings, increased productivity and an overall safer work environment.

Consider enrolling in a Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA) training course to empower yourself and your team with the necessary skills and knowledge. These resources provide valuable insights and equip staff with the tools needed to create safer workplaces.

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