ANALYZE THIS! Accident Prevention & Mitigation
By: Pedro Mercado, CSHO, SHEP, COSM, CLCS, CRIS, CSSGB, VP of HSE and Risk Management
June 14, 2017
Accident prevention and mitigation
The job hazard analysis is an effective tool to minimize or eliminate hazards and reduce accidents. It is important that we don’t just look at obvious dangers, but make an effort to study simple, everyday things that can go wrong, too. Each job in the workplace should be looked at in detail so that risks can be found in the job process.
It is critical to ask specific questions about the jobs we do. For example:
- Are any hazardous materials involved, and do I know the proper precautions for protecting myself and coworkers?
- Do I always wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE)?
- Is machinery adequately guarded to protect me from injury?
- Are the guards in place and in good working order?
- Are there factors that could cause ergonomic injuries, such as heavy lifting, excessive reaching and twisting or awkward postures?
- Are there environmental factors, such as hot or cold temperatures or inadequate lighting or ventilation, which could cause injuries or illnesses?
- Are floors clean and dry in my work area?
- Is my work area kept clean to prevent falls?
- Is my work area dangerously noisy? Have sound-level measurements been taken to prevent hearing loss? Do I need hearing protection?
- Have there been any changes in methods, materials or equipment for which I need more training?
- If doing work for others, does their lack of controls expose me to undue risks?
- Am I following all the safety rules?
Why it matters
More than 4,000 workers die from work-related incidents in the United States each year. That’s more than 3 workers in every 100,000. Effective job hazard analysis can reduce or eliminate hazards and keep more workers safe.
Once the hazards have been revealed, the next step is to see what can be done to reduce or eliminate them. Let’s think about these types of solutions:
- Can I do a risky part of the operation in a safer way, or find a way to avoid doing it at all?
- Can a safer material be used? If not, would better PPE or additional training reduce the risk?
- Could different and safer machinery be used? If not, is there a way that guarding could be made more foolproof?
- What about ergonomic risk factors? Can I make a simple change, such as putting materials at waist height or using carts or conveyers to reduce heavy lifting, excessive reaching and twisting or awkward positions?
- Would better lighting make the job safer?
- Am I taking risks by ignoring a safety rule or by not taking precautions?
- Do I ask questions when I don’t understand?
- Do I ask for help when I need it?
Remember, a good job hazard analysis can be a giant step toward safety, so taking the time to study risks and find ways to reduce them will benefit everyone. The purpose of a job analysis is not to evaluate job performance but to find hazards and determine ways to reduce or eliminate them.
For more information on how IBTX can help you with your safety program, contact Pedro Mercado at 713.400.3404 or firstname.lastname@example.org.